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October 26, 2021
Piatti's Lunch Meeting
 
Week #15 - President Patrick O’Neil
(Will you Trust these lawyers?)
 
President O’Neil rang the bell starting the meeting at 12:00 p.m. and welcomed everyone to the “Best damn Rotary Club in Arden Arcade.”    The room was full and Prez O wondered aloud, who knew lawyers would have this kind of draw?
 
The Prez asked Linda Biggler, to lead the pledge and she did. The Prez then asked Mike Grace to do the invocation.  Which he did, even thanking God for lawyers which some thought to be incongruous.  Steve Turner questioned the wisdom of inserting Mike-Grace-jokes into prayers.  Prez O responded, “It is a Mike Grace prayer so it must be OK.”  Les Gudger inquired as to the cost of performing a rebuttal prayer? 
 
Guests
Johnathan Barker introduced Greg Collin? For his second meeting.  Greg is considering joining Rotary and might do so providing the lawyers do their part.  Also attending with Johnathan was his neighbor (name undiscernible) who works for Sutter Health in a leadership capacity.  Jed Van Wagner introduced his baby brother, Chuck, his momma’s favorite.
 
Visiting Rotarians
Tim Cahill introduced members of the Folsom Rotary Club, Past President, Ken Stuart and Event Chair, Chuck Thompson.  Both were present to promote an exciting event, “An Evening with Brian Shul, Pilot of SR-71 Blackbird; the World’s Fastest Jet.”  Brian will be sharing his experience and inspirational story of being shot down in Vietnam and given up for dead only to recover and fly the Top-secret SR-71.  This event will sell out and they are giving Rotarians first shot at the tickets.  Tickets are $40 each and available online at BrianShul.Eventbrite.com Proceeds benefit The Wounded Warrior Project and the Folsom Rotary Foundation. You will want to hear about his connection to Rotary and how Rotary just may have saved his life.  His message is very inspirational and great for young kids to hear. Highly recommended.
 
Bell Ringers
Matt Ross because for the first time in a long time it seems like school is somewhat normal for his daughter.  She has a homecoming dance this Saturday.  More importantly, tonight is her volleyball playoff tournament in Vacaville.  The wheel thanked him with 3 tickets.
 
Jenny Davini because she can’t let Matt get ahead of her on the Bell Ringer Board. She also was thankful to have had a lovely weekend in Shell Beach with great weather, not like it was in Sacramento with rain. The wheel thanked her with 4 tickets.
 
Happy Bucks, Sad Bucks, Just Because Bucks
Jed Van Wagner is very happy to be at the meeting. Wile he was away he spent time in the hospital having 12” of his small bowel removed due to Crone’s disease.  The wheel thanked him with 2 tickets.
 
Les Gudger is $5 happy that one of his two grandkids is turning five today.  The wheel thanked him with 5 tickets.  Prez O made sure to hide the gavel before Les made it to the speaker’s table.
 
News, Announcements and Stuff-Like-That
Folsom Rotary Club event: see introductions for details.
 
Rotary International (Foundation)
Matt Ross said it is that time of year again.  You will start receiving emails from him to donate to the annual Rotary International fund drive.   As in the past, you will keep receiving the email reminders until such time as you have donated and been removed from the list of procrastinators. Our new members need to know that the money raised will go to the Rotary Foundation but we refer to it as Rotary International to keep our own Rotary Foundation account from being confused with the International Foundation Account.  97% of these funds go towards thousands of projects throughout the world, including Polio Plus.  Much of the money donated comes back to our community in the form of grants to fund local projects like the Rotary Van, the technology room at Encina High and improvements to the River City Food Bank.  Matt will bring out the big gun, his Enforcer daughter, 6’ Volleyball player with a mean spike, who will have extra time on her hands after the playoffs.  You don’t want to see her at your doorstep as the collector.  Steve Turner and Rob Olmstead didn’t receive emails today as they have both already donated. Donate soon and you will be taken off the list or, if you have no friends and like to receive emails, delay to the last minute and become Matt’s new best email friend.  You can pay online through “My Rotary Account” (it is really your Rotary Account but called My Rotary Account.)  You can give Jenny a check or credit card. Matt will donate $$$ if he sends you an email asking for funds after you have donated.  Donate soon and see if you can trip him up.  The secret word is “Enforcer.”
 
Rotary House
Tim Cahill announced that our club will be cleaning up the yard at the Rotary House this Saturday at 9:00 a.m., 4070 Second Avenue.  We do this twice a year.  This is a light duty event.  Bring gloves and have fun with your fellow Rotarians.
 
Carroll Cook announced that it is, that time of year again, time to watch the adds for great prices on coats for the kids at Dwyer Kell Elementary School. They now have 800 students, up from 600.  These students all come from low-income families and many have never owned a new coat.  This is our one and only holiday project.  Last year we purchased 127 coats, more than any previous year.   If you are not a savvy shopper, you can give your money to Carroll and he can purchase the coats.  He found a great sale this last week and purchased 34 coats with an average price just under $16 each.   The hat was passed, $775 was collected for the purchase of coats.
 
Laurel Ruff Holiday Luncheon
Prez O noted that San Juan Unified School District is still prohibiting outside groups from entering the school grounds so we will not be doing the Laurel Ruff Holiday Luncheon again this year. 
 
Holiday Party
Prez O announced that this year’s holiday party will be held on Friday, December 10th at 6:00 p.m. at the Nepenthe Club House in Campus Commons. More information to follow.
 
RotorOpoly
Prez O announced that we were successful in purchasing the Community Chest location of the RotorOpoly board.
 
Secret Word
Prez O asked, without yelling it out Bill Hambrick, by a show of hands, who knows the secret word?  Jenny Davini was the first to raise her hand.  She correctly announced that “Romero” was the secret word.  She was awarded one extra ticket for knowing the secret word.
 
Newsletter Blooper
Prez O asked the club if they noted the error in the newsletter.  Rob Olmstead and Rob Ford both indicated they knew.  Rob Olmstead was asked to explain the error.  It appears that Olmstead was credited with visiting Ford’s daughter in Wisconsin.  Olmstead said he has an alibi for that period of time and it was not him.  Ford vouched for Olmstead saying that it was he that was visiting his daughter not Olmstead.  The record has been corrected, and a marriage has been saved.
 
The club socialized while waiting for lunch to be served.
 
You Can’t Take It With You… or… Can you Trust Your Will with your money?
Ben Fox and Dan Spector are tag teaming today’s Trust and Estate Planning presentation.  Ben Fox brought props for his show and tell.  He spared no expense providing a Starbucks coffee cup, a Red Solo cup and a C to demonstrate his three-pots-of-money concept to show what can happen to your money after you pass on and no longer have need of it. The Starbucks cup represents your Trust.  The Red Solo cup represented funds with your name on it and/or a designated, named recipient.  The paper bowl represented all of the remaining assets not designated by a trust or a named recipient that should be covered in your will. 
 
Ben proceeded to provide scenarios regarding assets, like your house, that should be assigned to the trust but may have been inadvertently taken out of the trust due to refinancing.  This may cause the asset to move from the Starbucks cup to the Red Solo cup or even the Paper Bowl.  Ben went through many scenarios which could effect where your assets end up and the resultant ramifications for their distribution.  The bottom line is, assets not specifically listed in your Starbucks Cup (your trust) and not specifically designated to a named person (the Red Solo Cup) need to be covered in your will addressing everything remaining in the Paper Bowl.  Failure to create a will to cover the items not in the Starbucks Cup or the Red Solo Cup will be subject to the State of California’s laws regarding distribution of your property and you really do not want the state to do that for you. 
 
Ben also went over scenarios regarding complicated family situations including family disputes, wives and children from second and third marriages, children from your past that you didn’t know existed.  They all can have unintended effects on the distribution of your assets. 
 
The bottom line is, we all need to review our trusts, or create a Trust if you don’t have one.  This will ensure that the assets we have are included in them and that we have a Will to address all of the assets that may not be specifically listed in the trust.  This will cover the unforeseen challenges to the Trust and Will from relatives and unknown offspring, for those who may have sowed wild oats in the past.  If you do not properly address these potentialities, you may need the help of Ben’s associate, Dan Spector, who will help defend your estate in court… for a fee. 
 
Editor’s note: The above is an oversimplification of a very detailed explanation provided by the very knowledgeable Ben Fox.  Anyone relying on the above information to determine what is needed to protect their assets needs professional help...  Once you have received professional help and have returned to a sound mind, you then should call Ben Fox for good specific help with your estate. 
 
Ben introduced Dan Spector.  He has been litigating the trust estate world for over 25 years.  This is a growing field as the transfer of wealth has grown significantly over that time as baby boomers kick the bucket.  More and more people are looking for ways to get their hands on some of those assets.  This has led to the establishment of procedures to deal with these disputes covering subpoenas, discoveries, trials to help discern proper asset distribution under the law.  98% of the cases settle through negotiations or mediation. 
 
Dan noted that the outcome of Ben’s talk is the certainty that poor estate planning will result in two winners, the State and lawyers.  Dan appreciates all the people that fail to plan properly as that is how he makes a living.  Dan was in constitutional law but decided that estate litigation was a growing field with the largest transfer of wealth in history about to take place, a 50% divorce rate, a State that allows anyone to sue anyone for anything.  It turned out to be a great business plan.  When he started there were very few litigators specializing in this field.  Because of this, they all know each other and treat each other with respect because they know that they will have to see them time and again in court litigating matters.  This benefits all concerned.  Ben has been moving away from litigation to Facilitation and Mediation.  The good news is that all lawsuits come to an end.  How you get to that end is the key.
 
The most expensive way to bring a dispute to a conclusion is through trial.  The client hires a lawyer, pays big bucks to prepare for trial, gather the evidence to present to a judge to attempt to have the evidence admitted for consideration.  At the same time another lawyer is doing his best to muck up the client’s lawyer’s presentation.  This is called the adversarial process.   The Judge is not personally concerned about the client, all he wants to do is get through the process, discern the applicable facts and apply the applicable law to those facts and make a decision.  The judge has 90 days in which to make a decision.  Then one of the two parties is going to be unhappy and will decide to appeal the decision.  The Appeals Courts are presently taking 18 months to make a decision.    If the decision is upheld the process ends.  If not, the process starts all over again.  Meanwhile, the legal bills continue to pile up.  During this process the client has had no input on the outcome, only the law is considered.  The Judge’s decision is limited to the constraints of the law.  This is the most formal, most expensive, with the least amount of control for the client. 
The other end of the spectrum is peer resolutions. Between trial and peer resolution you find arbitration close to the trail option and mediation closer to peer resolution.  Arbitration is performed by a private individual in a less formal setting, like an office building not a court room.  The arbitrator is usually a retired judge.  There is no appeal process.  Lawyers spend lots of time and money making sure they present every possible bit of evidence to make their case to ensure they don’t get sued by their client for mal practice.  The cost will mount up for this course of action.  Arbitration works well for clients that agree that they do not want the government to be involved for legal reasons such as taxes or potentially illegal use of the assets.
 
Mediation involves a person in charge of the process.  The finer points of the law are not being discussed.  The Mediator is trying to facilitate a resolution between the parties.  The first thing they do is determine is what is the dispute and what is important to the parties involved.  Each party comes to the mediation with their own experience and perspective and truth as they see it.  Time is spent developing their perspective and understanding and what is ultimately important to them.    They then help fashion the outcome, not the law.  The mediator then works with the parties’ lawyers to develop a document for everyone to sign that day.  At this point the agreement is binding and the case is over.  No 90-day waiting time, 18-month appeal time.  No prolonged process and the bills that go with it.
   
Michael Caplan asked a hypothetical about a wild child’s (love child) rights to the estate.  Dan noted that in the world of 24-and-Me, this is an ever-increasing concern.  There are specific provisions in probate code that relate to omitted errors.  If the parent knew about the child and specifically omitted the child then the child has no rights to the estate.  However, if the parent had no knowledge of the child, the law presumes the child would have been included as an heir had the plan not been in place.   
 
Rob Olmstead asked if they have placed all their assets in their trust their kids are protected and there can be no claims against the estate.  Dan said no, that is not the case.  Dan works with families that know there are issues that need to be addressed on the front end of the process.  Families with kids that don’t like the second wife, or a family member that is living at home with mom and taking advantage of the situation.  Pay attention to your family dynamics and be honest with yourself about what your legacy is and take steps to address issues before you die.  If you don’t pay attention to the family dynamics, they will be apart of your legacy once you are gone. 
 
Jenny Davini asked how does one ensure that personal property, not listed in the will or trust get properly distributed.  Dan recommended that all personal property be discussed with the family members in advance and disputes be settled prior to death.  Let the heirs know the intent and then write the letter stating your preferences for the distribution of the property. 
 
Prez O’Neil thanked Ben and Dan for a very informative presentation.
 
Opportunity Drawing
President Patrick O’Neil pulled Rob Olmstead’s ticket, and he did not draw the Ace of spades. Rob selected envelope #2 which did not contain the Piatti’s gift card.
 
President Patrick O’Neil rang the bell at 1:11 P.M. closing the meeting.
 
Respectfully (more or less) submitted by,
 
Mike Grace
 
 
Ken Stuart
Past President, Folsom Club
Chuck Thompson
Event Chair, Folsom Club
Ben Fox
Presenter
Dan Spector
Presenter
Matt Ross
Bell Ringer
Jenny Davini
Bell Ringer
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