The Legislature has passed a law amending several parts of the Florida Power of Attorney Act, and while it isn't quite law yet -- Gov. Rick Scott has yet to sign it -- we thought we would explain what the bill is about. There can be no knowledge without context, though, so we started in our last post with a general discussion of powers of attorney.
We are taking a brief break from the probate woes of the rich and famous to talk about a bill sent to Florida Gov. Rick Scott at the end of April. House Bill 841 makes some significant changes to the state's power of attorney law, changes that will go into effect as soon as the governor signs the bill.
We are wrapping up our discussion of Willa Cather's wish that her personal letters not be published and that her works not be excerpted or adapted for the screen. The editors of a soon-to-be-released volume of her letters recently admitted that their book was a flagrant violation of the author's wishes -- wishes her first and second executors had followed diligently. But when the second executor passed away in 2011, the copyrights passed to the Willa Cather Trust, which did not, it seems, share the executors' dedication to carrying out the author's instructions.
Willa Cather wanted her work to speak for itself. She did not want her id and ego and superego injected into her fiction; she wanted her characters' ids and egos and so on to be the point. She must have been a fan of the New Criticism movement in literature and literary analysis. The men and women -- well, mostly men behind New Criticism believed that literature stood apart from history and the daily lives of authors, that the words on the page were such a powerful expression of the human condition that context was unimportant.
We are talking about author Willa Cather and her express instructions that none of her letters be quoted from or published ever -- not during her lifetime, and not after her death. Cather was not from Florida; she was from the Great Plains, the part of the country that she wrote about. One friend of ours suggested that if Cather had been from Florida, she would not have been so secretive with her private life; our friend believes the Southern influence in Florida makes us all want to blurt about our own lives as much as we want to butt into other people's.
Another story of a very private celebrity's wishes being set aside crossed our path recently. The writer is Willa Cather, the woman whose works centered on the American Frontier, the Great Plains of the American Midwest. These were hard places in her day, during the first half of the 20th Century -- not that they are any easier now, come to think of it. Snow birds from that part of the country are staying longer in Florida this year to avoid the actual snowfall. In April.
It is never easy to mention the "m" word. Money is very difficult to discuss - especially with family members. Nevertheless, if you are working on post-life estate planning distributions, you should consider discussing your anticipated plan with your family. This is especially true if you have more than one adult child.
Losing a child is hard enough. Losing an adult child who does not have a will can be both painful and complicated, especially when the parents are in the middle of a contentious divorce.
In our last post we reasserted the importance of fair equity in the way an estate plan and will distributes assets amongst children. While the importance of that sentiment cannot be stressed enough, the means in which an estate plan bestows equitable inheritances on a single parent or couple's children may not always be determined be even dollar amounts and percentages.
Thanks to the runaway critical and box office success of the film Lincoln, a renewed interest in our 16th president, his life, and the lives of those nearest to him has been had across the nation. While Abraham Lincoln's political and historical exploits are well known and widely respected, the man did make his share of human mistakes. One of these, recent research has uncovered, was neglecting to declare a living will-a decision that made the weeks and months after his death an especially complicated time for his surviving family.