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Orange County Blog

Friday, September 5, 2014

Law Day

Bill Handel hosts a popular morning radio show on KFI here in Southern California.  He is a licensed attorney, but during the week his show is a lively discussion of current events, etc.   However, on Saturday mornings Mr. Handel hosts a show called “Handel on the Law”.  Callers ask questions concerning virtually any legal topic, and Bill dispenses “marginal” legal advice in the most amusing manner.  It’s very entertaining and fun, since Bill’s favorite thing to say to a caller that’s finds himself in dire legal straits is “You’re an idiot!  You have no case!”

As part of his show, Handel sponsored “Law Day”.  He asked for attorneys in the area to volunteer to appear at a local law school to answer questions, for free, from the general public.  Each attorney would be given a table at which he or she could sit (or stand) with prospective clients to discuss their legal questions.  Attendees were given a directory with each lawyer’s name and area of expertise, and a map of the layout of the tables.

I thought that it might be a good opportunity to meet some other local attorneys, schmooze with them a little, maybe hand out a few business cards and develop some relationships that might lead to referrals later on.  Boy, was I surprised!  There were over a hundred lawyers present, but about 2,000 members of the public showed up!  From the moment the doors opened at 10 AM until they closed at 5 PM, I was swamped with people asking all sorts of questions about estate planning.  I talked all day, barely having enough time to go the bathroom.  Forget about getting lunch!  I have no idea how many people stopped by my table that day, but believe me, I was thrashed at the end of the day.

There was the young couple that had just gotten married, and wanted to know if they should sign a Pre-nup.  (Of course, Pre-nups are signed before you get married.)  A gentleman asked me if he could transfer his house to his kids to qualify for Medi-Cal.  There was the woman who told me a long, involved story about how her brother stole her inheritance from her, and wondered if I could do anything about it (unfortunately, this alleged misdeed occurred in the 1980′s!).  A man wanted to know about the stepped-up basis on inherited real property.  There was a couple that had heard that it was advantageous to set up a Charitable Remainder Trust, but weren’t’ sure what it was.  And so on, and so on…all day long.

This experience further confirmed my feeling that the public desperately needs and wants legal advice.

What You’ll Get From Reading This Blog

I’ve organized and written this blog to read as if you had attended one of my informational seminars, or were meeting with me for an informal conversation at my office.  I have tried to stay away from excessive technical language and copious footnotes, because I feel a book is easier to read and comprehend if the “jargon” is kept to a minimum.  Check back frequently for updates!





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