Thursday, November 28, 2013
As I have previously discussed, neglecting to discuss estate planning matters with your adult children can lead to problems down the line. The Bemelmans family is one such example.
Austrian-born American writer and artist Ludwig Bemelmans died at the age of 64 with an estate valued at only $200,000. But before his death, he ensured his wife that a little girl named Madeline would be their Social Security.
That independent Parisian schoolgirl he created has since made the family business millions, but now, due to a lack of succession planning, the author’s descendants are struggling with what to do with Madeline.
Grandson John Bemelmans Marciano has taken over writing and illustrating the Madeline books, but his mother Barbara Bemelmans, 77, still holds the keys to the Madeline kingdom. Barbara is the late artist’s only daughter and has yet to sell any of her father’s paintings and drawings despite the demand for Ludwig’s artwork.
Barbara and Ludwig’s grandchildren are now faced with the continuing dilemma of trying to figure out what Ludwig would have wanted for Madeline. For more on the real-life journey of Madeline, please click the link provided below.
See Deborah L. Jacobs, Madeline and the Family Business, Forbes, Nov. 27, 2013.
Friday, December 7, 2012
Amazon has chosen Dead Ringer for their Special Holiday Seasonal Promo and are selling it for just $1.99. See http://amzn.to/VxNnsz.
The following is from the press release for Dead Ringer by Allen Wyler:
While speaking at a Hong Kong medical conference, neurosurgeon Dr. Lucas McCrae slips the cloth off a cadaver’s head during a routine medical demonstration, and is overwhelmed by what’s staring back at him: The face of his best friend, Andy Baer.
Stunned, McCrae races back to Seattle to discover that Andy is in fact missing and may have been murdered by a gang of body snatchers who operate a legit funeral business and make a fortune by selling recovered body parts to medical researchers.
McCrae teams up with an unlikely pair—a beautiful but hardnosed female cop and a gang member whose family was victimized by the cadaver ring—to try and expose a macabre web of corruption that involves law enforcement, politicians, funeral home curators and murdered prostitutes.
Internationally renowned neurosurgeon Allen Wyler takes us deep into a nightmarish scenario, shockingly ripped from recent headlines, to deliver a horrifically plausible, page-turning thriller.
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
The following is from the press release for Dead End Deal by Allen Wyler:
World renowned neurosurgeon Jon Ritter is on the verge of a medical breakthrough that will change the world. His groundbreaking surgical treatment, using transplanted non-human stem cells, is set to eradicate the scourge of Alzheimer’s disease and give hope to millions. But when the procedure is slated for testing, it all comes to an abrupt and terrifying halt. Ritter’s colleague is gunned down and Ritter himself is threatened by a radical anti-abortion group that not only claims responsibility, but promises more of the same.
Faced with a dangerous reality but determined to succeed, Ritter turns to his long-time colleague, corporate biotech CEO Richard Stillman, for help. Together, they conspire to conduct a clandestine clinical trial in Seoul, Korea. But the danger is more determined, and more lethal, than Ritter could have imagined.
After successful surgical trials, Ritter and his allies are thrown into a horrifying nightmare scenario:
The trial patients have been murdered and Ritter is the number one suspect. Aided by his beautiful lab assistant, Yeonhee, Ritter flees the country, now the target of an international manhunt involving Interpol, the FBI, zealous fanatics and a coldly efficient assassin named Fiest.
Dead End Deal is a fast paced, heart-pounding, and sophisticated thriller. Penned by master neurosurgeon, Allen Wyler—who often draws from experience, actual events and hotbutton issues when writing—Dead End Deal is unmatched as a technical procedural. Its medical and scientific details can impress even the most seasoned medical practitioners. And yet, the technical expertise is seamlessly woven into a riveting plot, with enough action and surprises to engross even the most well-read thriller enthusiast.
Thursday, May 31, 2012
On July 17, 2012, Norb Vonnegut's newest financial thriller, The Trust, will be released.
Here is some information about this book from the publisher:
Norb Vonnegut (cousin of the late Kurt Vonnegut) is a former Wall Street insider and master of financial intrigue. The author of 'Top Producer' and 'The Gods of Greenwich', Norb has combined his wealth management expertise and intuitive, darkly humorous writing into a fast-talking, suspense thriller that burrows inside the world of big-money philanthropy and reveals how financial criminals hide behind the First Amendment. Who would have known that charitable donations could be so deadly?
One sultry morning in Charleston, South Carolina, real estate magnate Palmer Kincaid's body washes ashore, the apparent victim of accidental drowning. Palmer's daughter calls Grove O'Rourke, stockbroker and hero of Top Producer, for help getting her family's affairs in order. Palmer was Grove's mentor and client, the guy who opened doors to a world beyond Charleston. Grove steps in as the interim head of the Palmetto Foundation, an organization Palmer created to encourage philanthropy.
Community foundations, like the Palmetto Foundation, are conduits.
Philanthropists gift money to them and propose the ultimate beneficiaries. But in exchange for miscellaneous benefits-anonymity, investment services, and favorable tax treatment-donors lose absolute control. Once funds arrive, community foundations can do whatever they decide.
For years Palmer showed great sensitivity to his donors, honoring their wishes to funnel funds into the charities of their choice-his unspoken pledge-and it was this largesse which made him a respected pillar of the Charleston community. But after Grove authorizes a $25 million transfer requested by a priest from the Catholic Fund, he discovers something is terribly wrong. He gets a call from Biscuit Hughes, a lawyer representing the people of Fayetteville, North Carolina, against a new sex superstore in their town. Biscuit has traced the store's funding to a most unlikely source: the Catholic Fund.
Together, Grove and Biscuit launch an investigation into the fund, but the deeper they dig, the more evidence they find that the fund's money isn't being used to support the impoverished-it's going somewhere much more sinister. When someone close to him disappears and the FBI starts breathing down his neck, Grove knows he has to figure out who's pulling all the strings before the shadowy figure who will stop at nothing to keep the fund a secret gets to him.
Sunday, April 22, 2012
The end of one's life usually brings about a reflection of what one's life has meant. This is true for a man named Martin Forrestal. However, Martin isn't a real man. His story is literally just that. The story of Martin Forrestal is detailed in a novel written by financial advisor, Cam Thornton, and the founder of The Heritage Institute, Rod Zeeb.
Their story, entitled What Matters, follows the story of Martin Forrestal as he surprisingly finds himself on his death bed, diagnosed with Prostate Cancer. In the course of the novel, Martin determines that his monetary possessions and his success should not define who he is as a person. He convinces himself that what is important to leave to his wife and children is not his physical possessions but something more. So, Martin creates a list of 15 values that works as a framework for what he would like to leave for his family. Once he creates his list, he tells 15 different life events that he feels embodies these values, records them on a digital storage device, and stores them on his computer. These are some of the values and the stories that accompany them:
- Leadership displayed by his Scout Masters.
- Honor from the kindness of citizens who helped a greedy banker from financial ruin when he would have done the opposite for the citizens.
- Responsibility from the work ethic of his mother.
- Sacrifice from actions of his best friend, who sacrificed himself in World War II to save his fellow soldiers.
- And Love from a plaque that was a gift from his mother-in-law to him and his wife.
The story ends with Martin giving this gift to his family, who appears to appreciate the legacy he left behind.
See Eleanor O'Sullivan, What Matters Most To Loved Ones, Financial Advisor, Mar. 19, 2012.
Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.
Friday, April 29, 2011
A sequel to the bestselling, much-beloved Wish You Were Here, Stewart O’Nan’s intimate new novel follows Emily Maxwell, a widow whose grown children have long moved away. She dreams of vists by her grandchildren while mourning the turnover of her quiet Pittsburgh neighborhood, but when her sole companion and sister-in-law Arlene faints at their favorite breakfast buffet, Emily’s days change. As she grapples with her new independence, she discovers a hidden strength and realizes that life always offers new possibilities. Like most older women, Emily is a familiar yet invisible figure, one rarely portrayed so honestly. Her mingled feelings-of pride and regret, joy and sorrow- are gracefully rendered in wholly unexpected ways. Once again making the ordinary and overlooked not merely visible but vital to understanding our own lives, Emily, Alone confirms O’Nan as an American master.
For a review of the book and how it can be helpful to caregivers, see Paula Span, The Caregiver’s Bookshelf: How She Carries On, N.Y. Times, Apr. 16, 2011.
Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (WealthCounsel) for bringing this to my attention.
Monday, July 6, 2009
Jane Brody (columnist, NY Times) has published her book entitled Jane Brody's Guide to the Great Beyond: A Practical Guide to Help You and Your Loved Ones Prepare Medically, Legally, and Emotionally for the End of Life, Random House (2009).
Not only does the book cover legal issues that can arise, like advanced directives, organ donation, and assisted death, the book also provides practical advice on issues such as dealing with grief, losing a child, and a bad prognosis. The book also provides helpful checklists, anecdotes, and cartoons, making the written text all the more approachable for, and applicable to, the reader.
Monday, March 9, 2009
According to Andrew Gulli, the editor of The Strand Magazine in which the article will appear, "Twain uses his razor sharp wit to pen a tongue-in-cheek tale about the funeral industry."
See Carolyn Kellogg, Lost Mark Twain story to be published, LA Times, March 5, 2009.
Monday, February 9, 2009
Here is a summary of the plot from Publishers Weekly:
When an attorney informs PI Vlodek Dek Elstrom that he's been named executor of the estate of Louise Thomas of Rambling, Mich., curiosity and a $700 fee are enough to send Dek from his home in Rivertown, Ill., to desolate Rambling, even though he's never heard of the deceased woman. Dek finds more mystery in Thomass shack—blood spatters, remnants of a frantic search and an old Underwood typewriter. Dek eventually figures out how he and Thomas connect, but in the process unearths mysteries involving an advice columnist, a bank robbery, arson and murder. Dek is an appealing combination of bloodhound and bulldog, albeit one still in the puppy stage. Fredricksons light touch, nicely drawn secondary characters and clever plotting make this a promising series with enough substance to make a meal, not just a snack.
For another review, see Tom Nolan, The Case of the Advice Columnist's Estate, Wall St. J., Feb. 7, 2009.
Special thanks to Joel Dobris (Professor of Law, UC Davis School of Law) for bringing this book to my attention.
Friday, January 9, 2009
Here is the author's "teaser" about the book:
One night, when Cynthia Archer was 14 years old, her family disappeared. Now, 25 years later, she’s about to learn what happened to her mother, father, brother, and she might be better off never finding out.
According to Alafair Burke, “No Time For Goodbye is a deliciously smart thriller, full of surprises and perfect pacing. I'm jealous I didn't write it." I completely agree.
BUT, what is not revealed in any teasers or reviews, is that this book has its foundations in wills, trusts, and estates! In fact, the plot could not exist with our area of the law! So as not to spoil the book for readers who have not yet experienced it, I have posted my discussion of the connection off-site here.