November 2011 Archives

One Thanksgiving at Sal's, one at the beach.

November 24, 2011, by

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Nils and Sylvia are at Sal's today, to enjoy Thanksgiving. About ten days ago, Kyra found out in everyday conversation with Sylvia, that Nils and Sylvia would be going to Sal's. Sylvia mentioned it among a bunch of other things and didn't seem to realize it is a departure from many years of Lars and Kyra's hosting Nils. They had invited Nils and Sylvia this year, but maybe too casually. Sal is Sylvia's nephew, and a financial advisor in the local office of one of the major stock brokerage firms (or whatever they call them now). Lars knows him some.

Lars and Kyra don't have any good reason to object, or even to feel a little hurt. But a little hurt they are, especially Lars. He's having some success at arguing himself out of it, though. Upon learning of the change, Kyra called upon one of her many forms of intelligence and suggested their family do Thanksgiving at the beach this year. This is more work than Lars realizes, but he is appreciative.

It's a good day with and for the kids. Lars is particularly pumped to be at the beach this Thanksgiving because he and Kyra, following through with recently articulated intentions, had met with their lawyer Duncan just the day before to talk about longer-term plans for the property.

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Coming from a different direction.

November 17, 2011, by

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It seems a little odd to Lars, when he pulls into Guy, that Nils is driving in from a different direction. But not all that odd, and surely not Lars's business.

It's the night of their monthly business dinner. Just the two of them, to keep on monitoring Nils's business affairs. They have a hearty and fairly expensive dinner, and drinks. Lars doesn't have a drink 'til the preset business is done at least; it's kind of an ethical point with him. Not that it would be all that morally wrong, but it might give an impression of being at less than his best for even this client.

Although he hasn't really ever articulated it, Lars likes the way the name of the restaurant (Guy) is both masculine-sounding and a little bit off grammatically or something like that. Why not Guy's? Kind of like Ruth's Chris - does that mean Ruth's son Chris? He's never investigated it and would just as soon not know.

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Estate of Lint: women & men...

November 10, 2011, by

TE BLOG. Medical brain scan. 10.25.2011.iStock_000014430407Medium[1].jpg
We found in our earlier review of Endicott v. Saul that aggression clothed as friendship can be rewarding. How about romance for gain?

Wealthy widow Estelle was 60 when she met Christian on the Seattle social scene. He was 42. The Washington Supreme Court, in its 1998 opinion on the case, says they "struck up a friendship and began dating." Your reviewer here, no expert on the subject, senses from his own wife's use of the term that there are as many meanings to "dating" as there are living things in the ocean.

Four years later, Estelle had cancer that went to her brain. Her relationship with Christian intensified. He hired his own people to care for her and closed her off from others. She got sicker, and incoherent. Yet after a hospice worker had called her speech "word salad," and she engaged in behaviors that would be funny on an English comedy show (but are tragic here), Christian took her to Las Vegas to marry her.

Failing the formalities in their first attempt at the We've Only Just Begun Wedding Chapel, Christian managed to put together a marriage certificate and a reverend in their hotel room to (seemingly) get the job done. This in the same week when medical personnel described her in their own fascinating language as "aphasic" and "perseverating and parroting."

A month later Estelle signed a new Will in favor of Christian. The next month she died. What outcomes?

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Uncle Nils's premarital agreement (cont'd)

November 3, 2011, by

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The prenup Lars helped arrange for Uncle Nils, was more properly done and more complete than Carla Dewberry's.

Premarital agreements are commonly viewed as tools of deprivation and exploitation. Prenups are perhaps most common in later-in-life marriages, and the parties are likely to differ in wealth. Does the rich old guy secure the younger and poorer woman at a bargain, leaving her with little after she looks after him for years? Sometimes. But an agreement can be a useful form of communication, resolving important practical questions that might otherwise go unasked. Is Sylvia promised any financial reward? How much, and in what scenarios?

The answers aren't always miserly. Many lawyers recommend a degree of generosity. This is partly because a stingy arrangement is more likely to be found invalid in a later divorce. But there's also the factor that it's a marriage being talked about, not a sale of property between unrelated persons. Nils has no kids and has plenty of money. Why not make a nice gesture to the woman he's marrying?

Nils and Sylvia's document was drafted by his attorney, then reviewed by hers with her. It was done months in advance of the wedding, as a last-minute deal is breakable, implying the possibility of duress. His separate property remains that way. But she gets the house and a $2 million trust out of it if they divorce after at least three years, or if Nils dies before her.

This is what Nils has agreed at the outset, that he must do for Sylvia in those events. He might be a little worried she is more interested in his money than in him, although she does seem genuine. If things go well he can be even more generous; their agreement certainly doesn't prevent that.

Surprising things happen sometimes, with women and men...