This summer was inaugurated with a record number of consecutive 100 degree + days. This year will likely be the hottest on record. I’m not sure whether it is because of a typical weather cycle or because of global warming. Our grandchildren will probably learn which.
This is proving to be a hot summer on the political front in an election year. I hesitate to work for any politician or political party because I am devoted to all of my clients—Republicans and Democrats, tea partiers and occupiers, straight and gay, pro-life and pro choice, young and old, libertarian and regulatory. It is confusing to me how “government” became a 4-letter word and why people cannot solve problems rather than be so absolutist!
In my 65 years, I do not remember the country ever being this polarized. Does every decision involve an absolute??? Unfortunately we may not find enough cool heads to solve problems. With all of the heat generated, I’m hoping that our country’s melting pot principle prevails over having our system blow up in our faces because we can’t get anything decided or done.
Vice Chair Dianne Hansen has left the practice of law to travel the country with her retired husband. At last report she was not saying that she was retired permanently, just taking a year off. We miss her for her articles describing complicated court cases and policy changes. She was a very active vice chair, and in the spirit of developing new talent from amongst our members, she recommended that Jessica Kruse from the same Zerrer Elder Law Office in Springfield take her place as the southern Missouri representative. I have recommended her appointment.
This past legislative session was productive with the passage of two bills. The former powers to direct section 456.8-808 was converted to be a "Trustee Protector" section. The new Qualified Spousal Trust section found in section 456.950 was tweaked to permit a trust to have the additional option of having both marital and separate property in the same trust. Catherine J. Barrie, our able Missouri Bar senior legislative counsel, helped guide these through with our sister Probate and Trust Committee.
I hope that you agree with me about continuing our state’s non-partisan plan. Originally conceived to curb abuses by political cronies, a return to the appointment of appellate judges whom the governor finds to share his or her same principles every eight years seems especially repugnant to me. Please talk to your friends and family about this. We don’t want decisions made based upon which way the hot winds are blowing a particular governor.
Special thanks to Vice Chair Samantha Shepherd and committee member Karen Weber for planning a very successful First Annual Elder Law Institute on June 14 in Independence with over 100 members attending. We are already planning to have the institute in two locations next year—Kansas City area and St. Louis area. Besides the networking that occurs, the institutes give our members an opportunity to develop practical skills by presenting on current elder law issues and by participating in discussions with other speakers and members.
We are continuing to spotlight two of our members in our newsletter profiles. This time it is another Elder Law Committee pioneer and former committee chair, William G. Hubbard, of Kansas City, and recent committee member, Jessica Kruse, our new vice chair from Springfield. Bill has tirelessly and selflessly worked hours in being not only a sounding board to the rest of us thinking through difficult issues, but also a resource to solve problems with legislation and litigation. Jessica is developing her practice under the tutelage of former committee chair Lois Zerrer and finding how rewarding it is to work with elder law clients to solve their problems.
Please let me or any of the vice chairs know of what we can do to assist you in your elder law practice. We want to help you make a difference to your clients!
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Paid for by The Missouri Bar Keith Birkes, Executive Director PO Box 119 Jefferson City, MO 65102