[ HOME ]     [ ABOUT ]     [ CONTACT ]  

Fun Fact:  Where Did Valentine's Day Come From?

Bishop Valentine went against Emperor Claudius II's wish that no Roman men marry during wartime, and performed secret weddings. For this, Valentine was jailed and executed. While in jail he wrote a note to the jailor's daughter signing it "from your Valentine."





Valentine's Day is one of the most popular days to get engaged (right behind Christmas and New Year's Eve).  Even the greatest loves of all are often presented with the challenges of daily life, uncertainty, and stresses.   That's why Valentine's Day is a perfect time to "divorce-proof" your estate plan.    Knowing that you won't be the impetus for more strife in someone else's life can give you the peace of mind that frees you to focus on what really matters.   Like chocolate and flowers.  

Still looking for a perfect Valentine's Day gift?  Think about giving an estate plan to someone you love.  Scroll down to learn more.  
Don't Get Married!  (Without These Two Things)

Divorce attorneys will often say that a long and successful marriage can be predicted by two things:  Spouses' ability to discuss finances, and a prenuptial agreement.  My philosophy has always been that a prenuptial agreement is more than just anticipating a termination of the marriage; it forces a couple to face and discuss tough issues like how they will deal with household finances and what would be a fair economic division of assets if it ends.  Like I always say, if you can get through the pre-nup negotiation (and planning a wedding with your in-laws), it's a good indicator of success for the marriage.   Money issues inevitably rank in the top five reasons for divorce.  How you and your spouse spend and manage money can become a monumental arguing point.  Some shy away from pre-nups because they deem them "unromantic" and don't want to address how the marriage will end when you're talking about a union!   


Here's the thing:  Marriage is a financial and legal contract, whether you write one yourself or not.  All relationships end one way or another, through death or divorce.  If you die without a Will, the state writes one for you.  And if your marriage ends without a pre-nup, the state writes one for you as well.  Wouldn't you rather write your own laws?   Facing  the uncomfortable issues now will give you peace of mind later, and maybe help you navigate the rocky bumps rather than throw in the towel. Read more >>


How to Avoid a "Sibling Divorce"

Just like spouses fight when the going gets rough, siblings can go through their own divorce.  It's called a probate contest.  And they hash it out in Surrogate's Court instead of Family Court. Leaving your financial and legal affairs in disarray lays a breeding ground for fights among family members.  Having an estate plan isn't just for your benefit--it helps ensure there is no love lost when you pass away. Talking With Your Parents About the Future is a blog post that gives suggestions on how you can gently and tastefully encourage an estate plan. You may also want to read Creating a Family Legacy, which discusses family-centric, value-based conversations that will help establish a sort of family compass that can be referenced to stay on course.  

Michigan Same-Sex Couple Is Supreme Court Bound
Jayne Rowse and April DeBoer's close call with an oncoming truck made them realize they needed to provide for each other, and their children. But their trip to a Detroit lawyer's office to draw up their wills and assign custody of their children brought grave news. The lawyer told the couple that guardianship papers would be nearly worthless legally. In Michigan, two unmarried people may not jointly adopt a child, so their children were adopted by a single parent, leaving the other parent no legal claim to the other children. If either of them died, a judge could order the children adopted by the deceased parent to live in foster care or with another relative. Together, Rowse and DeBoer have four children.

On January 16th, the Supreme Court agreed to hear their case challenging Michigan's ban on same-sex marriage. The court is expected to rule by June whether all 50 states must allow same-sex marriage. Read more >>

Emoticons and Emoji As Evidence?
This Valentine's Day there will no doubt be multitudes of loving emoticons sent through cyberspace--but little did you know that they could turn state's evidence! The trial of Ross W. Ulbricht, a man charged with running Silk Road, a black-market website where vendors sold illicit goods, is calling for the jury to consider emoji when reviewing evidence.

Building a case has become complicated in the digital age, where there are no finger prints or voice recordings, and even more complicated when the subject of the case is a business built on anonymity, using pseudonyms for communications and bitcoins for payment. Julia L. Gatto, the lawyer for Gilberto Valle, a New York police officer accused in a plot to kidnap, torture, kill, and eat women, said "The question of identity in the virtual world is a complicated one. In a typical case with an audio recording, somebody says, 'I know that voice.' Here, the best you can do is say: 'I know that style. I know he doesn't capitalize his i's or always uses a frowny emoticon.'"

For this reason, Mr. Ulbricht's attorney asked that email and other Internet communications be shown to the jury rather than read aloud, because "Chats are designed to be absorbed through reading, not through hearing." Prosecutors disagreed, but eventually the judge on the case instructed the jury to take note of such symbols in messages. Read more >>  As you read, consider whether we will ever see a day where social media messages and emoji constitute a last will and testament.  Consider heart-eyes next to bequests to lovers and frownies next to disinherited children... 
What could be better on Valentine's Day than a ballads sing-along? Bring a date or go alone, and sing your heart out to these legendary power songs of the 80s and 90s. There's even an air guitar competition. 
If you didn't make it to Times Square for New Year's, show up for this only slightly more sedate holiday, where nine couples will marry in front of an automated beating-heart drum that reacts to sound and movement.
New York is just one of 38 cities where runners will don their skivvies for a one-mile dash to obliterate children's tumors. The cause is great. The weather? Not so much. May we suggest long undies?  

MoreFunFactsMore Fun Facts for Valentine's Day
  • There were 112,185 Valentine weddings in Vegas in 2008. 
  • 53% of American girlfriends would kick their boyfriends to the curb if they didn't get something for Valentine's Day.
  • 15% of American women send themselves flowers on Valentine's Day.
  • Every Valentine's Day, the Italian city of Verona, where Shakespeare's lovers Romeo and Juliet lived, receives about 1,000 letters addressed to Juliet.
  • Cupid became popular with Valentine's Day because he was the son of Venus, the Roman god of love and beauty. He often appears on Valentine cards with his bow and arrows. It is believed he uses the magical bow and arrows to inspire feelings of love.
  • The red rose was the favorite flower of Venus, the Roman goddess of love. Red stands for strong feelings, which is why a red rose is a flower of love.
Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Wizzley

Happy Valentine's Day!

Nothing says "I love you" like naming someone in your Last Will and Testament.  Except maybe making sure that their own legal affairs are in order.  If you know someone who needs to get started, share the love this Valentine's Day and give them this certificate. We do not charge a fee for an initial consultation on estate plans.  
Offer Expires:  Never