Volume 81 - June 2013
In this issue:
Advice to mothers in law on making their Wills
Is there any legal obligation on the Executor not to be too cheap with the funeral arrangements?
Dear Worried Mother
You could express a wish in your Will for either cremation or burial but usually that does not bind the Executor.
Whereas, your Will makes specific directions for the disposal of your money and other assets, your body is not really property as such, and therefore it is up to your Executor as to how it should be disposed of, within reason. Health departments and courts can, in certain circumstances, deter some of the more enthusiastic means of disposal favoured by daughters in law, such as “sky burial”.
However, careful wording of the Will can alleviate some of your concerns. A clause such as “I leave $5000 to a donkey sanctuary unless I am buried in a solid oak coffin” should suffice. It does not need to be oak and can be any other material, although I would caution against any precious metals e.g. gold or silver, as even a clause specifying “and remains there” can be ignored.
I find that once this method is explained to clients even the most conservative life can be celebrated with professional mourners, a horse drawn hearse, or apologies read out by certain relatives at the graveside.
Finally, a court would find that as Executor this is your son’s decision alone and your daughter in law should make that quite clear to him.
Join Your Local Witch Hunt
Those of us who have not followed life with sufficient gravitas to become a judge, can always righteously adopt a serious cause and seek elevation to a commission or investigating committee. For others with a shorter attention span, the advent of social media offers mobs opportunities that the French Revolutionaries could only dream of.
In 1953 The Crucible, a play by Arthur Miller likened the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) to the Salem Witch trials of 1692. Hollywood operated a blacklist for celebrities falling foul of the HUAC such as Charlie Chaplin, Orson Welles and Paul Robeson all of whom had to go overseas to work.
Miller was suspected of being a communist and in 1954 the HUAC denied him a passport for the London opening of his play.
In 1956 Miller married Marilyn Monroe and was subpoenaed to appear before the HUAC. Miller did not wish to name, names and the Chairman seemed to agree to defer that question. Miller then gave an account of his own involvement with Communism as a writer under a pseudonym. He was later convicted of contempt for refusing to name names and was sentenced to a fine of $500 or 30 days imprisonment. He was blacklisted and disallowed a US passport. He appealed and his conviction was overturned as the Chairman’s concession made it unclear that a prosecution would follow.
Witch hunts are just as popular today be it retired light entertainment celebrities, priests, climate change sceptics or anybody appearing to step over the bounds of political correctness. Everyone is entitled to an opinion on these topics provided it is the right one or they keep it to themselves, otherwise they are attacked too. Names (right or wrong) are named and vilified.
Amid this there are people like Miller who dared to lampoon and Napoleon who perhaps more satisfyingly turned the cannon on the mob, while sensible people do nothing and keep their opinions to themselves.
What can you do about it? Well, if you are like me, nothing.
(c) Paul Brennan 2013. All rights reserved.
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Impress your clients and colleagues with your commitment to the law, right down to your smalls, with captions such as:
“Cautious lawyer" - “Please rely on your own judgement and advice”,
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I am in the process of teaching my 19 year old daughter how to drive. I viewed this as a reasonably safe pursuit until the other day when we tried roundabouts. My experience of teaching my other three children to drive flashed before me and I realised that this was a dangerous activity with obvious risks for fathers. As is the case so often in law, the answer involves hot air. Click here for the article of lawyer, Tony Cordato.
SYDNEY BOOK LAUNCH
101 REASONS TO KILL
ALL THE LAWYERS
–That Part which Laws or Lawyers can Cause or Cure
will be launched on Thursday 4th July 2013 at 12.30pm at the lunch of the Rotary Club of North Sydney, North Sydney Leagues Club.
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Disclaimer: The content of the Law & Disorder eZine is to give you legal basics and in some instances, included unashamedly to try and make you laugh. In law, it is sometimes difficult to work out what is serious and what is just for fun. Therefore, if you plan to do anything legal, rely on your own lawyer’s advice or instruct me to look at the particular facts of your case. Not only will I deny responsibility for the legal content but also for some of the jokes.