LIFESTYLE ADVOCACY FAMILY FINANCE LAFF is a publication of DuPont Wealth Solutions and the law offices of DuPont and Blumenstiel blending original and curated content and is intended to educate the general public about investing, finance, estate planning, personal injury, and small business issues. It is not intended to be legal or financial advice. Every situation is different. The information in this newsletter may be freely copied and distributed, as long as the newsletter is copied in its entirety.
We’ve got a special treat for you this edition. It’s my pleasure to announce that our firm is releasing our very own serialized mystery series. You read that right. I’ve always valued educating my clients on estate planning, but who says you can’t have a little fun in the process? Below, you’ll find the opening to vol. 1 of “The Pilot Mysteries,” our noir-inspired series starring a dashing estate planner caught in the middle of a deadly family feud. Chelsea de Modelo didn’t have an appointment when she arrived late that afternoon, but Meredith showed her back to my office anyway, partly because I was available and mostly because of her tears. Only a few months had passed since Chelsea and her husband had executed their rather complex estate planning documents, but as I watched her move to the window, gazing out across the parking lot at the rising rush hour traffic on I-270, she seemed like someone else entirely. She wore a simple tan blouse, a long black skirt, and a light, maroon scarf around her throat, which might have been doubling as a handkerchief. It was a stark contrast to the yoga-pants-and-Yale-T-Shirt ensemble she’d worn the last time, and her demeanor had changed just as much. Having greeted her as Meredith escorted her in, I didn’t approach her but rose from my desk and watched as she went to the window, sobbing softly in the late afternoon sun. Considerably younger than her husband, Arturo, she’d been jubilant and full of energy at their last appointment. Now, she seemed exhausted, solemn, and something else, something I couldn’t put my finger on. Meredith lingered in the doorway; she always offered a beverage at this point and somewhat eerily knew which beverage each of my clients enjoyed, but she’d fixed me with an uncertain frown, an eyebrow raised. Should she still offer a beverage, or simply withdraw? I nodded at her and she nodded in return, her eyebrow dropping back into place, and stepped briskly to the beverage station in the hall. I approached the window several arms lengths away from my client, wanting to give her space without seeming to ignore her. The yellow sunlight burst through the glass from our collars down; in a few minutes I would need to lower the shades or we’d be practically blinded. I said, “Jeremy called in earlier this afternoon. He told Meredith what happened while I was meeting with clients. I returned his call immediately, but it went straight to voice mail.”
Jeremy was Arturo’s son from a previous marriage. There’d been a second marriage as well, then he’d divorced again and married Chelsea less than six months ago. He’d told Meredith that Arturo had been in a serious car accident and was in the ICU at Riverside Hospital. They didn’t know if he was going to make it.
She said, “He was driving through the roundabout on 161 by the river. He’s always
complaining about that thing. I actually like it, you just yield to the left, but he thought it was a free for all, like a little pocket of the road where no one followed any predictable rules at all.” I made a note to speak with Braden, the firm’s litigation attorney, to look into who was at fault and what our clients’ options were, but now wasn’t the time. “Is he still in the ICU?” “Yes,” she said, and more tears came, so we just looked out across the parking lot together, both of us trying to ignore them. I started wondering why she wasn’t at the hospital if her husband was in the ICU.
She plucked the thought right out of my head. “You’re probably wondering why I’m not at the hospital.”
There wasn’t much to say to that; it seemed rhetorical, so I just waited for her to tell me.
She noticed a box of tissues on the end table by the sofa, reached out and gingerly removed one. She dabbed her eyes and then blew her nose suddenly, not very gingerly at all. “The documents we signed back in February, one of them was a Medical Power of Attorney, isn’t that right?” I nodded; that would be standard. But I turned and walked back to my computer to pull up their file to be sure. I have a lot of clients, and I don’t like to keep information in my head, nor do I like to assume things. “I have originals of your documents in a fireproof facility; I can have them here
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