Archive for December, 2011
HOLIDAY GREETINGS AND ANNOUNCEMENT
All of us at Cramer Law Center wish you a most enjoyable holiday season. We are so grateful for your support which has made this a year of steady growth for our practice.
As part of that growth, Cramer Law Center is pleased to announce that we have hired Amelia Hough Henderson as an associate attorney. A double-Gator, Amelia earned her undergraduate degree in Business Administration and her Juris Doctorate with honors from the University of Florida. While in law school, she served as Chief Executive Articles Editor of the Journal of Law and Public Policy. Prior to joining us, Amelia gained experience working with probate and guardianship staff attorneys for the Eighth Judicial Circuit in Gainesville. The next time you are in the office, please take a moment to meet Amelia.
We wish everyone a healthy and prosperous New Year! Please note: our office will be closed on December 23, 26 and 30, 2011 and January 2, 2012.
MORE PERSONAL LESSONS LEARNED
As I shared with you in our last newsletter, my mother passed away recently. Although I help my clients on a daily basis with legal planning for the future, this personal experience has enlightened me as to the importance of certain legal and non-legal aspects of planning.
One non-legal aspect of planning involves your final arrangements. I strongly recommend making your wishes known to your family ahead of time. There are many potentially stressful questions to be answered after a loved one passes away. Which funeral home should we call? Would he want cremation or burial? Which cemetery would she want to be buried in? What would he want on his headstone? Where would she want the service to be held? Would he want visitation? What would she want the obituary to say? Things will run more smoothly for those you leave behind if they already have your answers to these important questions. In order to help our clients with their final arrangement decisions, we now have partnered with Hardage-Giddens Funeral Homes to provide planning workbooks.
Another area where you need to make your wishes known is with your “stuff”. By stuff we mean jewelry, collectibles, family heirlooms, etc. that your family may squabble over or that are not equally divisible among all beneficiaries. For example, if you have two valuable family heirlooms and three children to whom you have left everything “equally”, the most likely scenario will be that the family heirlooms will not remain in the family, but instead be sold and the proceeds divided among the three children. If you want family treasures to remain in the family, you need to do a written memorandum stating which family member(s) will receive each item.
Finally, I recommend against appointing all of your children as co-trustees of your Trust or co-personal representatives in your Will. Do you really want to leave everything hanging on a 2-1 vote? How you will be buried: 2-1 vote. Who will receive the treasured family heirloom: 2-1 vote. Parents must resist the urge to treat all children “equally” when it comes to naming trustees and personal representatives. Estate and trust administration decisions are generally best left to one person.