PetWill Radio

Thursday, December 22, 2011

2012 Resolutions for a Great New Year!

Here are some of the most popular New Year’s Resolutions:
1. Work-life balance/reduce stress
2. Travel more/take a trip
3. Get out of debt/save money
4. Get in shape/lose weight
5. Spend more time with family
6. Quit smoking/kick a habit
7. Have better style
8. Get a new/better job
9. Find a spouse/improve relationships
10. Learn something new
11. Drink less
12. Get organized

What resolutions will you make for 2012? Interestingly, most people don't keep their resolutions because, gets in the way. Also, it takes at least 21 days to create a new habit and most of us won't commit to change for the period of time it takes to become a new habit.

Baby steps. You don't have to make a major overhaul. Choose small achievable goals that you can measure easily. Then, pat yourself on the back for making that small step and take another one. It's like one of my favorite sayings, "How do you eat an elephant?" Answer - "One bite at a time!"

I believe 2012 will be one of the best years ever. I'm really looking forward to it. I can have less stress and more balance, along with getting in shape and taking a few pounds off if I simply walk my dogs every day. They love, I love it and I get to kill two resolutions with one stone.

I definitely plan to travel in 2012. I have a trip (or two) planned for every month. Some are farther away than others, but they are all a way to allow for a recharge. I'm looking forward to Salt Lake City, Utah the first week in January. Second week I have a limited distance endurance ride planned. Then I can accomplish the goal of spending more time with family when my sister Julie and family come to visit in the third week. The fourth week we will be camping at the Daytona International Speedway for the Rolex 24 hours of Daytona! And that's just January!

I'm also looking forward to London and Paris in May, Vegas in June, Denver in July, Glacier National Park in August and a few other sides trips here and there!

We can all do a better job of saving money. I need to get back to more automatic saving so I don't have to think about it. Just take $50 a paycheck or a month and have it automatically go into a savings account. You'll be surprised how much you've saved by the end of the year. Use that account to put unexpected checks that arrive as well and your nest egg will continue to grow!

I quit smoking more than 15 years ago so I'll have to think of another habit to give up. Cursing might be a good one?

Have a better style. Not sure what that means but I guess for me, it means I'll take the time to style my hair every day instead of taking the lazy girl way out and putting it up in a pony tail or barettes. This one will be the hardest for me.

Not planning on getting any new or better jobs since I own my own company. Still, I have opportunities to improve the level of service we provide, do more marketing, become more visible, write more, etc. Have any suggestions you can offer? I'd be happy to hear them.

I have a spouse, Joe Allen. Not making any changes there except we can all work on the quality of our relationships. Someone once said, "love is not something you feel, it's something you do." I believe that and we can all improve in that area. We can all learn a lot of lessons from our dogs - they love us unconditionally. There's even a new country music song about how a guy wants his gal to love him like his dog! How true.

I'm always interested in learning something new. I'll have to pick something and I'm open to suggestions.

Drinking less is a good goal. It's easy to get into the habit of having a drink every evening when you get home from work. I think I'll pledge not to do that and always drink in moderation. One drink, followed by a glass of water before the next one. At least I won't wake up with a hangover!

I love to be organized. It's funny, the more organized I am, the less I can find. But this is definitely a goal for me. In fact, I'm cleaning my office all day tomorrow and I'll work on my house over the holidays!

I'm wishing you the best 2012 ever! We all deserve a better year. Be positive, be happy and thank everybody for everything!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

What a glorious weekend to ride

This weekend was the second ride weekend of the year - for me. It was the Goethe Forest Ride. Tons and tons of people present because it was both AERC and FEI sanctioned. There were 100, 75, 50 and 25 mile riders. I was in the 25 mile or limited distance category. I rode with my friend Caren Stauffer and her horse Fancie Pants. We were fortunate to finish 7 and 8 - Whoo hoo, a top 10 finish! My friend Gayle King rode Pepper in the 50. She also finished in the top 10!

The weather was awesome, the trails great. We arrived Friday afternoon - me late because of our Hoyt & Bryan Team Christmas Party. We were up early Saturday morning for the ride even though we didn't go out until 9 a.m. We were completely done by 1 p.m. and ready to relax. It wasn't long before it was time to load up and drive home.

Congratulations to all of the riders who participated, all who tried and especially to all who finished. Thanks too to the organizers and volunteers who made the ride possible.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

No hassles, No worries - just sent my cards out

The holidays always seem to be busy crazy. In year's past it has taken me weeks of effort to get my holiday cards sent. Then, sometimes, if there isn't enough time, they don't get sent at all. Not the case this year (or last). As a SendOutCards distributor I create my card, verify my list and hit the send button! Holiday card dilemma solved - no hassles, no worries. I can even send Christmas gifts from the comfort of my home or office along with a personalized card. This year, for the first time, SendOutCards is offering picture books, calendars, posters, dream boards and canvas photos!

I hope everyone is taking advantage of the opportunity to be with family this season. Joe and I just returned from both Tennessee and Virginia - lots of driving, but still a good time. We had dogs, Leiden and Sienna, with us - added to the fun! Lol!

Would love to hear from all my friends at the holidays! Have a blessed season!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

I Should Have Left My Christmas Lights Up

That's what one of my clients said recently when we realized just how quickly 2011 has flown by. It seems like we just did the holidays and here we are again. Halloween was last week, Thanksgiving is just a blink away, and then the hustle bustle of Christmas and New Year's is upon us.

The holidays can be stressful. There's shopping, cooking, cleaning, traveling, visiting family, wrapping presents, dealing with unmet expectations, coping with our own roller coaster emotions...Wow! I'm tired just thinking about it. Most families put the "fun" in "dysfunctional" so you aren't alone if you happen to think your family is less normal than others.

The holidays can be a great time for family to talk about important family issues, however. At least one of my clients intends to share with her family how she wants to distribute her "stuff" - the tangible personal property that families love to fight about. She's even considering holding a Monopoly money auction so the kids can "bid" on the items they want. Then a nice sticker will go on the item identifying the winner and hopefully avoiding a future dispute.

A few years ago we produced a game called Your Life, Your Legacy that has wooden coins sporting an important life question. Each person can answer the question or each can choose a question and answer. It beats talking about the weather because the questions raise real life important issues that families forget to talk about.

If you are visiting with family, this might be the time to ask those important questions, preserve those valuable memories and think of ways to hold on to a person's true legacy. Scott Farnsworth and I wrote a book called "Like a Library Burning - Sharing and Saving Stories of a Lifetime." It's purpose was to encourage families to think of creative ways to preserve a person's stories. Every time someone dies, it's like a library burning down - we've lost all that beautiful information forever. After that experience, my sister Julie and I compiled a book for our father, called "I Live but Once", a compilation of things he had written throughout his life and career along with some cherished family photos. Fortunately, we were able to present this book to our mom and dad at their 50th wedding anniversary. Four short years later my father is in a nursing home - yet, we have this awesome tribute to hold on to.

It's not unusual for people to die around the holidays. I don't know if it's the stress or it's just the right time - family is or has been together and the newly departed may have had a chance to say their goodbyes. At any rate, we always know there's going to be an increase in estate administrations right after the first of the year.

This is also card sending season. I like to write those "chatty" newsletters because not only do I want to share what's happened in my life, I'm hoping my friends and family will do the same. There is nothing more disappointing to me than getting a store bought card engraved with the name of my friend without a personal message. I'm thinking they shouldn't have wasted their time and money - I really don't care what Hallmark has to say, I'd really like to hear what they have to say. I do like the pictures of friends and their families but again, without a personal message, it loses something. A few years ago I discovered SendOutCards and my card sending has gotten a lot less complex. Now I can create my newsletter card, fill it with pictures, upload my list and send a personalized card to each of my friends! It used to take me days, now only hours. If you've never heard of SendOutCards or you'd like to try a sample, you can send a card on me!

I am looking forward to the holidays despite all that goes with it. I plan to visit our property and friends in Tennessee as well as family in Virginia. I plan to keep my expectations low and my positivity high. Have a happy holiday!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Teresa Morgan and Friends Complete the The Disney Wine and Dine

On Saturday October 1, 2011, Teresa Morgan and friends, Missy Lee, Debbie Roser and me (Peggy Hoyt) participated in the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon! What an experience.

We arrived at Disney's Wide World of Sports Center at 3 p.m. to pick up our packets. They were very organized, everything was computerized and the whole process went really smoothly. They had a great Expo with lots of vendors - things to learn about and lots of things to buy! Of course, we couldn't resist and sent some dollars into the local economy. The Expo closes at 4 p.m. so we then headed over to our hotel at the All Star Resort Music Hotel.

Our plan was to get settled in our rooms, take a nap, drink a smoothie and then head over to the race. Our plans didn't go exactly as expected, but we did get on the bus about 8 p.m. to head over to the race. Teresa said they were expecting 12,000 people! I didn't think I heard her right and thought it was more like 1,200. Boy was I wrong! It was 12,000! I have never seen so many people at a race. The other one we did in March - the Orange Blossom Half Marathon probably only had about 100 people! This was a horse of a different color!

You've never seen so many port-a-potties in your life! They were lined up all over. I couldn't imagine they needed so many. Not true - and, if you didn't get in line for the bathroom the minute you arrived, you were not going to get to go. We met some nice people in the bathroom line and had some good chats. I met a gal who was running with her dad in preparation for the upcoming Marine Corp. Marathon in Washington, DC. As you'll remember, Teresa is preparing for the NY Marathon the first weekend in November - raising money and awareness for Anal Cancer. You can give right from this site!

Teresa and Missy were in Corral D and Debbie and I were in Corral E. They start you in order of your expected finish time - doesn't say much for Debbie and me. Anyway, they called us to our Corrals about 9:30 p.m. We had to wait until 10:20 p.m. until they let us go. There were people of all shapes and sizes - it was really amazing to see how diverse the group was.

Our plan was to meet up at the end as it would be inevitable that Teresa and Missy would finish well before we would. The race course ran through the Animal Kingdom as well as MGM and then ended up in Epcot. There was lots of music, characters and entertainers along the way to keep us motivated. Also, lots of Disney employees providing lots of encouragement and support - even for us slow pokes.

Well, the good news is - we all finished! Some of us in better shape than others! They should have called it the Whine and Dine! Except, we never saw any wine or food. That part was a scam - not that we were interested in eating or drinking when we were done at almost 3 a.m.! All we really wanted was a place to sit down, a shower and a soft bed.

Teresa did great - averaging about 13 minutes a mile! My average was just over 16 minutes per mile. I was thrilled just to finish as I had hip pain from mile one! Not sure what that's all about - good thing my sister, Anne Williams is a physical therapist.

It looks like Teresa will not have any trouble completing the NY Marathon. I'm so proud of her! Please support her in this effort by sending her encouragement and providing support for Anal Cancer.

As for me, this was my last marathon, of any kind. I'll stick to horseback riding!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

5 Mistakes People Make When the Set Goals

Wouldn't it be helpful to know what mistakes to avoid when setting goals? I learned this recently and it was EYE OPENING for me. I thought I'd share it with you.

Ponder this...

"If you set a goal and didn't achieve it, you FAILED when you SET the goal."

Hmmmm, makes you think about the process...

5 Mistakes When Setting Goals

1) Setting Goals too Small

--if you do this, you will never GROW. Most people don't realize that the bigger the goal they set, the better - because it will get you to STRETCH. You will FAIL way more often than you succeed in working towards your goal, just know that is part of the process. The challenge with small goals is that you won't pay the price if the goal isn't BIG enough. If the REWARD isn't big enough, you will revert back into safety, not forward into GROWTH.

2) You Set a Goal Based on What you Think You Can Do
--You can't set goals based on what you think you can do. If you have been there in your mind, you can go there in reality. God doesn't put ideas into your head that you can't make a reality. Stop thinking about what you think you can do and get out of your comfort zone

3) You Set Goals Only if You Know How to Do it.

--At best you are going to guess as you go, you have no idea HOW you are going to accomplish a goal. You will fail miserably at times, and wonder if you can make it happen. Persevere. Keep going. Fail forward. That is just part of the process. Spend more time on WHAT you want, keep that in front of you on a DAILY basis, and less time on the HOW. The how will come, you will try things, some will work, some won't. Keep going. Keep focused on WHAT you want, and the end result. Accept failure as part of the process! Talk about why you CAN do something. Truth is NOT in appearance. Only focus on why you CAN and WILL achieve your goal, don't talk about why you can't, that NEVER helps you move forward. EXPAND YOUR AWARENESS. As HOW CAN I? Assume anything is possible. It is.

4) You Question Your Worthiness to Have it.

--when you have a clear understanding of WHO you are and WHOSE you are, you would realize that you deserve it all. I am not one to throw my beliefs on others, but I hope you will respect my beliefs as I respect yours. I believe we are all children of God, and we were meant to live a life of abundance in all areas and to do the best we can with what we were given, and to leave the world a better place. With that in mind, why not think bigger and realize you DO deserve more. If you' going to grow, there is a price you are going to have to pay. The best part is, you don't pay any more of a price to think BIGGER than what you are thinking now. You deserve it all. We are spiritual beings with an intellectual mind, living in a meat suit. The problem is, most people spend too much time focusing on the meat suit.

5) You think the Reason you Set the Goal is to Get the Goal

--the purpose of a goal is who you need to become in order to achieve the goal, not the goal itself. When you stretch to reach a goal, and you achieve it, what is more rewarding? Who you became in the process, or the actual goal? Donald Trump became a billionaire, and then lost it all. Because he had grown as a person, when he lost it, he was able to get it all back even quicker. Because of WHO he was and what he believed. The question is, who do you need to become in order to reach your goal? We are all in the process of becoming and growing. If I were the statue David, Michelangelo would still be chipping away..... become your own masterpiece.

I hope this opened your eyes as much as it did mine when I learned it!

Now, go out and make it happen!

This information was recently shared by my good friend, Adam Packard. It is reprinted with his permission.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Teresa Morgan is Running her Butt Off for Anal Cancer

One of my very best friends is Teresa Morgan. There's a lot to know about her - she's an accomplished attorney, my business partner in SendOutCards, a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother, a grandmother and a great friend to Joanne Duke. Joanne is one of Teresa's closest friends from high school.


Joanne has anal cancer. So did Farrah Fawcett. This is not a sexy disease that you hear about often. As a result, money for research is critical if we are ever going to cure this killer.

About a year ago, Teresa thought it would be a great idea to walk the New York Marathon as a way to raise money and awareness for anal cancer. She convinced a group of us we should all do this. Well the New York Marathon is so popular, you can't just sign up. You have to sign up and get in a lottery. Well, out of the lottery, Teresa was the only one from our group that was picked!

Teresa was inspired - she's not just walking the New York Marathon, she's running. We walked our first half marathon in March 2011 when we entered the Orange Blossom Half Marathon in Tavares, Florida. Well, Teresa was right out there, running right from the start. Another friend, Missy Lee, who has been Teresa's running buddy and trainer throughout this event, was right along side her. Debbie Roser and I stuck to the original plan and walked - we came in dead last.

We haven't been able to stop Teresa since. She's committed to running in the New York Marathon and finishing. To "Finish is to Win" as they say in endurance horseback riding. I know she will!

What we need is your support - financially. Not for Teresa, but for anal cancer. Please watch the short video Teresa produced to tell you about her upcoming race.

I would like to challenge all of our attorney friends to give $100 to help support Teresa in this effort. You can donate here!

Thanks for your support!

Source: via Socie1 on Pinterest

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Simon Cowell’s Cryogenic Goals Test Limits of Conventional Trust Planning | The Trust Advisor Blog

Well I thought I had done a better job of posting this article. Can you believe that Simon Cowell and Peggy Hoyt got mentioned in the same article? Interesting that he's part of the cryonics movement. I also heard he wanted to leave money for the benefit of his pets?! He and I have more in common than he may know.

Anyway, check out this article on cryonics!

Simon Cowell’s Cryogenic Goals Test Limits of Conventional Trust Planning | The Trust Advisor Blog

Don't Say I Didn't Tell You - How to Get Paid for Being Nice

I think SendOutCards has the best product and the best business opportunity in both the card and gift industry and in the network marketing industry. They've done everything right. They created a product that everyone needs - a great way to reach out in kindness to others through greeting cards and gifts that are easy to send, very affordable and with a system that doesn't let you forget. They've created a business opportunity that is one of the best in the industry. For less than $500 you can have your own business, be your own boss and start making money right away! They pay weekly bonuses and monthly commissions!

I've been a SendOutCards Distributor for more than two years. I've met some wonderful people I would not have met otherwise, I have a whole new set of friends, I've made some extra money and I've touched a lot of people's lives by sending heartfelt cards and gifts. Plus I've been to Salt Lake City twice, Las Vegas and Cancun!

As an attorney, I try and help other attorneys do a better job of building and keeping relationships with their prospects, clients and referral sources. For anyone in a service business, SendOutCards can improve your entire marketing program.

As a business person, I know the value of keeping your name top of mind.
What better way than by sending a heartfelt card or gift? You can make awesome picture cards for people they will never forget. It doesn't take a lot of time and it doesn't take a lot of money.

You can become a card sender for $9.80 a month!
It's hard for me to believe that someone wouldn't invest $10 in the success of their business. Even if you don't have a business, why wouldn't you spend $10 to be the kind of friend, sibling, aunt/uncle, acquaintance that had a reputation for being nice and sending cards.

This business is just getting started. It will soon be a billion dollar household name. I'll be there - I wish you would be too! Don't say I didn't tell you.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Collegiality - Fact or Fiction?

Here's an article I wrote recently on the topic of collegialty. Some people think I'm talking about congeniality - not the same thing. Collegiality is how people in the same profession work together so that all can succeed. It's based on a mindset of abundance - where there is more than enough for everyone. If the tide is raised, then all ships benefit, that kind of thing.

We all have a responsibility to help the new ones coming along. Somewhere, sometime, hopefully someone gave you a leg up so that you could benefit from their expertise.

Have a great day and thank everybody for everything!

Collegiality - Fact or Fiction?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

There's no such thing as a free pet

From time to time (like almost daily, okay, weekly) someone asks me whether I'd be interested in a cat, dog, horse, bird, etc. for "free." Well I'm here to tell you there is no such thing as a free pet. The cost of acquisition may be free but that's where it ends. And now, the ASPCA has published a chart that confirms this point.

So now you may agree, even if you deduct the cost of pet health insurance, in the first year most dogs and cats will cost you more than $1,000. I'm not trying to discourage anyone from the joys of pet ownership - quite the opposite, I'm just suggesting that responsible pet owners understand the costs of pet ownership and they incur these costs willingly and with a commitment for the whole of the pet's lifetime.

If you have multiple pets, obviously the cost goes up accordingly. Understanding the costs of pet ownership is also helpful for planning purposes if you are including your pet as part of your estate plan - perhaps even creating a trust for their benefit.

So next time someone offers you a free pet, consider the costs but also the benefits.

Why Wealth Disappears

This is a particularly well written article about the perils of transferring wealth from one generation to another. The bottom line is it isn't the actual transfer of the wealth but the abilities and stability of the individuals who may be receiving that wealth. This is the concept of wealth reception. How people receive wealth may ultimately determine how that wealth is utilized (or wasted). This concept of wealth reception is particularly important within the context of family businesses, many who do not survive to second and third generations. The heirs are generally not prepared intellectually and emotionally for the responsibilities of continuing the business. Many have absolutely no experience in the family business or in any business. Drug and alcohol abuse issues can also play a major role in how wealth is received and maintained. Estate planning with qualified professionals becomes a necessity if there is to be any hope of preserving family wealth.

Why Wealth Disappears

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

September is Life Insurance Awareness Month

I received an email today from one of my financial advisor friends advising me and others that this is Life Insurance Awareness Month. I thought this was good information to pass on. Far too often people discount the important role of life insurance in their investment portfolio.

As an estate planning attorney, I see the benefits of life insurance. A loved one has died. If there is no life insurance, the surviving family members may face financial difficulties or even, devastation. Life insurance proceeds, on the other hand, can serve many purposes. One purpose could be as simple as helping to pay for the funeral costs of the deceased. A bigger purpose could be to provide an ongoing source of financial security.

There are formulas for calculating how much life insurance you need. These are often beneficial but one question I always ask is, "Does this feel like enough?" If this was your only source of financial security after the death of your loved one, what would your life look like? Is your goal only to pay off your existing mortgage or debts, or do you want enough to secure your future? If you have children, this can be even more important. Does your surviving spouse have to go back to work and/or hire full time child care in order to continue Your family's existing lifestyle. Do you want your spouse to have to sell everything and move to a different home in order to have enough to survive?

How you answer the question of how much is enough will determine your attitude toward life insurance. Some clients say, "I don't believe in life insurance." I generally respond by asking, "You don't believe it exists or you don't believe it's a good deal?" People who don't believe life insurance is a good deal may not understand how life insurance really works. There are essentially two kinds of life insurance - the kind you buy (permanent insurance) and the kind you rent (term insurance). Term insurance can be a temporary solution to a permanent problem. This doesn't mean I don't think there's a place for term life insurance, I do. It's generally true though that more often than not, term insurance expires and becomes too expensive before a claim is ever paid. For this reason, I suggest everyone, at the earliest age possible, explore the benefits of permanent insurance. Permanent insurance can offer a number of significant benefits.

I don't sell life insurance - haven't had my license now for a number of years. I do appreciate the benefits of life insurance and I'm happy to suggest a respected agent for you to talk to if you have questions.

In honor of Life Insurance Awareness Month, I would suggest you review your existing life insurance and make sure it is sufficient to address your needs. Today is the day, tomorrow may be too late.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Freedom Isn't Free

Today I'm sending out a special thank you to all of our military personnel, first responders, police officers, firefighters - to everyone who makes living in America the best place to live! Thank you for all you do, for all you've done and for all you've yet to do.

Kody Bateman, founder of SendOutCards has produced a video as a tribute to our freedom and those that make it possible.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Homestead Dilemma

Should Florida homestead property be held in trust? This is a question I get several times a week. I'm going to tell you what I tell my clients when I get this question. Probably not, and here's why.

The issue of Florida homestead is very complex. Most people think of homestead as just your ad valorem tax exemption - the one where you get a discount on your Florida real property taxes and you get the Save Our Homes cap on assessment increases. If this were the only issue related to homestead, I'd say, go ahead and put the property in your trust. As long as you include the proper language to preserve your ad valorem homestead exemption you'll have no problems. But therein is a problem - you have to have the proper language or your taxing authority may deny your ad valorem homestead exemption.

But in Florida we have to make homestead more complex. In addition to ad valorem taxes there are two Constitutional provisions that make for interesting dinner conversation. One is the protection from creditors. Under the Florida Constitution your homestead property is essentially your castle. This means that as long as you own the requisite property amount both inside and outside of a municipality, your homestead is protected from the claims of creditors. This protection does not include your mortgage company so don't go getting any ideas. It also doesn't include mechanic's liens or liens from your homeowner's association, but other debts or judgments you may incur cannot attach to your homestead property.

Here's the rub. At one time there were a couple of Florida courts that didn't agree on whether you could benefit from the Constitutional protection from the claims of creditors if you put your property in a trust. One court said you maintained your protection, another one say you lost your protection. As a result, we (Randy Bryan and our attorney team at the Law Offices of Hoyt & Bryan) have not recommended putting your homestead property into your trust. If the Florida Supreme Court would decide the issue once and for all, then we would feel completely comfortable with a recommendation that was consistent with that decision. So, for now, we do not recommend putting your homestead property into your trust.

But that's not the end of the story or where it really gets complicated. There's another aspect to homestead and that's the restriction on descent and devise? What? That's the look I get from most people when I start explaining this part. Basically, Florida law says if you are married and/or have a minor child and you own your homestead in your individual name, you are not free to leave your property to anyone you want. Well how can they do that? By law. The law was intended to protect widows and minor children. The State of Florida doesn't want them to be homeless. It's this part of the homestead discussion where even most attorneys get lost.

Any attempt to leave your homestead property outside of the descent and devise restrictions is invalid. I'll give you an example. I'm a single person and I own a home in my individual name. Okay, no problem there - I can leave my property to anyone I want. Then I get married (no prenuptial agreement) and I never change the title on my home, it's still in my individual name. If I die, Florida law says the only person I can leave my home to is my spouse. Any other attempt to leave my property, say to my best friend or adult child from a previous marriage, is invalid. If I get married and have a minor child, even if I try and leave my property to my spouse, I still didn't get it right. There's a minor child so the law says my spouse gets a life estate with the remainder interest to my lineal descendants. This includes all my children, not just the minor ones. Confused yet? This is where most people's eyes glaze over in the conversation.

Then, to complicate matters even more, you've got legal professionals (attorneys) advising married people to put their homestead property into their trust - presumably so they can avoid probate. Well, if they owned their home as husband and wife (tenants by the entirety) they would avoid probate. Problem solved. Then, if the surviving spouse wants to transfer the homestead to the trust and he or she doesn't get remarried or have a minor child, then we might be able to talk. As long as they are okay with the indecision in the Florida courts regarding the protection from creditors issue.

Here's my current client situation. Husband and wife place their homestead property in a joint trust (why I dislike joint trusts is a totally different subject, so stay tuned for a different day). The joint trust has language about what happens when the first spouse dies in order to preserve the estate tax exemption. The bottom line is the devise inside the trust violates the restrictions on devise and descent. In this case, no minor kids so the spouse becomes the only valid devisee. When the devise fails, spouse gets a life estate, remainder to the lineal descendants. Okay, maybe not such a bad result - they have three kids. But...they don't want all three kids to have the property. Only one kid gets the property when mom dies because he's the one that lives with mom!

Now I'm faced with figuring out how to tell mom (and the kid who lives with her) that the last attorney who advised putting the property in the joint trust caused a violation of the restrictions on devise and descent and we have a result that that isn't going to accomplish their goals. This attempt to avoid probate is actually going to result in the necessity of a probate so we can get an Order Determining Homestead - mom get's a life estate with the remainder to the lineal descendants. Then, we have to ask each of the three kids to deed their remainder interest to mom so we can get it back in her individual name. Then, mom can decide what she wants to do - leave it to her next door neighbor or to her son as originally planned. There are a whole bunch of title related issues regarding why we want the Order Determining Homestead, but I'm not going to get into that now.

If life were simple and everyone always agreed on a particular outcome then this may just be some paperwork, attorneys fees and filing costs. However, I'm willing to bet the family didn't count on this particular outcome and since I'm the messenger with the bad news, I become the bad guy. If for some reason one or more of the children decides they don't think it's fair that the son who lives with mom gets the house, then we've got a whole bunch of additional family fun to deal with.

So what do you think, should we put homestead property in trust? I'm thinking NO - most of the time. There are exceptions, but they are few. Questions? Call Randy.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Remembering the Good Old Days

Last night I went roller skating at the Semoran Skateway. Wow! That really took me back. Back to the days when every Friday and Saturday night were spent at Skate In, our local roller rink. We thought we had challenges in those days - only then they consisted of what we were going to wear and whose mother was going to do the drop off and pick up. All the girls would eye all the guys and plan who we wanted to skate with when the turned the lights down and played a couples tune. What a great time we had.

Those times are still available. I was pleasantly surprised at how much fun you can still have at the skating rink - and it only cost $8. It wasn't overly crowded, there were plenty of rules and regulations to keep people safe and it was a pretty fun crowd. There's no drinking, smoking or gum chewing allowed so that kept it pretty tame too. Lots of families, young adults and a few couples out for a good time.

People watching is always a hoot! There were a few guys there that I think I knew from the 70's - apparently they never left. I commented to one particularly good male skater - "I'm a much better skater in my mind." He laughed and said in a few weeks I'd get my skate legs back. He said he used to skate in the 70's but when he got his driver's license he never went back - now he skates with his grand kids! Made me feel old - that's why I say I never had kids because they remind you of how old you are. He spoke the truth however, once we got our driver's license, the skating rink went by the way side. I guess we had much more important things to do then.

I was so nostalgic after my roller rink outing I called one of my best friends from the good old days - someone who could remember exactly what I was remembering. I had to laugh when she said, "You didn't really skate did you?" Of course I did and I had a great time - not to mention getting in some great exercise. My knees were killing me when I left though, just to remind me I'm not as young as I used to be. However I am happy to report I didn't fall down even though once or twice I lost my balance and didn't look very cool. I didn't have the nerve to try and backwards skate, even though my mind said I used to be pretty good at it.

If you are looking for a good time and a great nostalgic evening out - try skating! See you at the rink!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

No license required

How would your life change if you could achieve all of your personal dreams and goals without having a professional license or college degree?  What if you didn't even have to have a high school education?  What if the only requirement was the visualization of your dream and a commitment to achieving it?  

Would you want to know more?  What would you be willing to invest - in time, in money, in personal sacrifice?  The interesting thing is most people will say they are willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish their dreams. The reality Is most will never even take the first step. For some they'll quit before they really get started - usually when they encounter the first challenge or obstacle. Only a few will achieve true personal and financial success.

How do you handle adversity?  Do you resolve to do more, be more and have more?  Or do you shut down and look for the next best thing believing the grass is greener somewhere else?  Do you accept responsibility for your personal success or failure?  Or, is it always someone else's fault your life is not progressing the way you want it to?

What is your daily commitment to your personal development and success?  What does your day look like moment to moment, hour by hour?  Do you get up early to work on your personal development - to read, to meditate, to plan your day?  How do you reach out in kindness to others?

How would your life change if you made $100,000 per year more than you are making today?  What if your monthly income could exceed your current annual income?  

What is your why?  The reason you get up every single day?  Does your why make you cry?  

My why is to help 100 people in my life achieve their why. I've started my list. You might even be on it. If so you'll know soon. If you are not already on my list you can be there, simply by asking. I look forward to talking to you soon.

Live long, be happy and thank everybody for everything!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Celebrate International Assistance Dogs Week August 7-13, 2011

As you know, I am co-puppy raising Sienna, a golden retriever puppy owned by New Horizons Service Dogs. As an adult, she will work as a mobility dog for an individual in a wheel chair. If you want to know more about Sienna, you can visit her personal blog, Stories by Sienna. International Assistance Dog Week (IADW) was created to recognize all the devoted, hardworking assistance dogs helping individuals mitigate their disability related limitations.

This is the week to celebrate assistance dogs everywhere. Tell your friends about International Assistance Dogs Week (IADW). The goals of IADW are to:

Recognize and honor assistance dogs
Raise awareness and educate the public about assistance dogs
Honor puppy raisers and trainers
Recognize heroic deeds performed by assistance dogs in our communities

Sienna had the chance this week to accompany me to a speaking engagement at the Orlando Humane Society. We spoke to 25 campers. They learned a lot about Sienna and what her life will be like some day. One of the most important lessons they learned is to never approach or pet a working dog without first asking permission. Everyone loves dogs and our initial inclination is to simply rush forward and pet them. Even if a dog isn't working, it is always appropriate to ask permission first. Sienna loved being with the kids and they loved meeting her.

She is teaching me so much. It is one thing to train a dog you know you plan to keep forever. It's another thing to have the responsibility to help train a dog that has to be 100% reliable. They need to be exposed to everything! Sienna is easy to train because she is smart, willing and eager to learn. She really wants to do everything right.

Thanks for your support this week and every week of service dogs everywhere!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Presidential Proclamation--Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act | The White House

We recently celebrated the 21st anniversary of the ADA - The Americans with Disabilities Act. This Act was adopted to ensure equal opportunity for all Americans with disabilities.

The Law Offices of Hoyt & Bryan serves families with disabilities - we provide education and counselling to assist families in their quest for information about special needs trusts, guarianship and guardian advocacy, and government benefits. To celebrate our families and our commitment to education, we are hosting a one day Special Needs Conference on Friday August 12, 2011. The cost is $20 and includes lunch. We hope you will join us. Please contact our office 407-977-8080 to make your reservation today!

Presidential Proclamation--Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act | The White House

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

When estate plans fail

Two very interesting and unique topics in one article - my favorite topic, planning for your pets. And, a second topic regarding the treatment of cryo-preserved genetic material (frozen embryos and frozen sperm, as an example)under the umbrella of estate planning. The first topic, you can read all about in my book, "All My Children Wear Fur Coats - How to Leave a Legacy for your Pet", available through Amazon using the link on this blog. The second topic is gaining in popularity due to some recent cases regarding the rights of children to receive benefits or an inheritance who may have been conceived after the death of one of their biological parents. We've recently started asking clients whether they have any frozen genetic material just to make sure we don't miss this planning opportunity.

Both subjects are too important to be ignored. Let me know if you need more information.

When estate plans fail – Estate of Denial

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Week in the Carolina Mountains

We just returned from a week in the northwestern South Carolina mountains! We rented this adorable cabin on White Water Lake just outside Salem, SC. It was pretty central to everything! Oconee County boasts 22 waterfalls - we saw a couple of them and tons of State Parks. There is lots to do - Lake Jocassee is nearby, about 9500 acres and crystal clear.

Our cabin was perfect for two. One bedroom, one bath on the cutest lake!

We had a private dock and our own canoe. Joe even took me on a tour of the shoreline so I could get a good look at all of the neighbor's homes. I love looking at houses - maybe I should have been a Realtor - hey, there's still time and I do have a real estate license. Something else to do, later.

On Sunday, we explored the area including Devils Ford State Park and Whitewater Falls.

To our dismay, there is almost no where in the area to eat, except a little restaurant called Sisters (not open on Sunday or Monday and then closes at 2 p.m.) As a result, we made a grocery run and ended up eating at home most of the week.

Monday we drove the motorcycle over a mountain highway into NC to visit friends, Marc and Nancie who live in Hendersonville. They had some friends in town from Oregon, who were in for the Highland Games. Had a fun time walking around - did eat lunch out that day. The ride was beautiful, hot and fortunately, uneventful.

Tuesday we went whitewater rafting. I couldn't get us on the Advanced all day trip so we took their half day trip for seniors and kids. It was still a great time with one level 4 rapid that had everyone thrilled. Got a big face full of water but stayed in the raft. All the pictures were terrible or you'd get to see the expression on my face!

Wednesday we started off for Table Rock State Park and found ourselves getting directions to Twin Falls. That was a weird adventure. The directions took us to a place that didn't look like a place - there was only one car in the lot. Very creepy, for sure. Anyway, we are walking up the path wondering if we should turn around and came upon about 30 young campers. The falls were really pretty and worth the effort.

Thursday found us at Stumphouse Tunnel and Isaqueena Falls. Then we did some antiquing in Walhalla (not much of a town, but still fun). Our friends Marc and Nancie came and spent the afternoon hanging around at the dock.

Wow, our week is going fast. We thought we'd ride the motorcycle over to Cashiers and Highlands but the day promised nothing but rain so we took the truck, and Leiden. We had fun looking in all the shops. Bought a pair of earrings from a local artist and some dog treats.

Read a few books while I was there - Don't be a Yes Chick! by friends Molly Hall and Laney Lyons, 30 Days to a Well Mannered Dog by Tamar Geller , and a clicker training book for aggressive dogs.

Good to be home. Off again this week to Chicago for a WealthCounsel event. Then to DC to visit family. Joe's stuck with the pets.


Thursday, July 7, 2011

I'm Glad the Casey Anthony Trial is Over

Seems like the only thing anyone could talk about today was the Casey Anthony trial. Personally, I'm glad it's over and ready to have her sentencing finished today. Then maybe Central Florida can find something else to talk about instead of focusing on one subject that ignites strong emotions - mostly bad ones.

I hope our justice system did it's job. Apparently that's what her parents said, they just wanted justice. I hope they feel like they got it.

Around the corner will be the civil suits. Unfortunately, this may keep people talking about the case for quite a bit longer - kind of like OJ. Only he ultimately had to answer to the Universe as I'm sure she will too.

Let's all try to find something positive and uplifting to focus on today - like a new puppy or a the wonders of a child. Give the people you love the attention and praise they deserve.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Sienna the Service Puppy

Sienna arrived yesterday! I was really psyched, almost couldn't wait to see her. Finally got the call around 12:30 p.m. saying we could pick her up at 3:30 in Deland. Of course, Ellen and I were thirty minutes early.

We had tons of questions about what to do, how to do it. Fortunately Megan Cloudman, one of the members of New Horizons Service Dogs had a whole notebook of information for us. We even got a goodie bag with things to help settle Sienna in.

In case I didn't mention it, she got her name Sienna because each litter of puppies has a particular theme. The theme for this litter was colors. Sienna seemed like the perfect choice for a dog that could be copper or burnt orange in color. Megan approved the name, so it stuck.

Sienna slept on Ellen's lap all the way home. She had a really big day. Little did I know I was about to have a very interesting night - a little dog that didn't want to go to sleep. It eventually all worked out and everyone got a few hours of good sleep.

Other good news, we've had no potty accidents. Lots of going outside, but she's really, really good. Very calm, relaxed. More service dog like, than puppy like. I think this profession will fit her well. She also like the A/C so being an indoor dog is going to suit her fine.

I started reading the training manual this morning after our first "busy" outing. There's a lot to learn. More than 80 different commands to master. Seems a little daunting, but I feel up to the task. I know Ellen is excited too.

We took her to the Geneva Fourth of July parade today and she couldn't have been better. She just isn't afraid of anything - not people, dogs, horses, parade floats, loud noises - nothing. I can't say the same for Leiden who seems to like no one and nothing.

This is a new journey - one I hope you'll join me on. You can also follow Sienna's blog for a puppy's point of view.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Waiting for a Puppy

I recently posted that I have applied to be a puppy trainer for New Horizons Service Dogs. I'm beyond exited at this opportunity. My friend and co-puppy raiser, Ellen Hall, has agreed to share this experience and the responsibility.

Spent a significant amount of time on line yesterday researching disability access issues as they relate to service dogs. It is my expectation I'll be able to take the puppy almost anywhere, but I wanted to be prepared, just in case. Interestingly, the right to access with a service dog is not a right that belongs to the dog. It is a right that belongs to the disabled person. Trainers of service dogs and dogs in training should theoretically be treated in the same manner as a disabled individual with a dog but I have a feeling I'm about to learn a lot more on this subject.

Yesterday we were informed that we had been approved and that we will be receiving a female puppy! I feel like an expectant adoptive mother that just learned there is a child who has been identified who needs a home. Each litter has a theme for naming the puppies. The theme for her litter is colors - so, we've been diligently thinking of great names. We've got a ton of ideas, not sure yet what we will settle on. Favorites right now include Sienna, Copper, Amber, Kahki and Jade. Burgundy would also be a nice name.

Well it's 5:36 p.m. and I haven't heard a thing all day! I'm totally bummed as I thought we would know more by now. We've already been to Petsmart and dropped a load there on pet toys, treats, a name tag, etc. Now all we need is the puppy. All I need is the call and I'm ready to go!

Even went by Pet Rescue by Judy
while we were at the mall, just to get a puppy fix. Actually bought another leash just trying to support Judy and her efforts - thanks for all she does to find homeless dogs a forever home.

More later. I'll post a picture, as soon as I have one!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Raising a Service Puppy - a New Chapter

Today my life may have changed forever – hopefully in a good way. I recently had the opportunity to meet Megan Cloudman of New Horizons Service Dogs, some of her volunteers and some of their dogs at The Family Café. I thought I was at The Family Café, a Florida state wide disabilities conference) for the purpose of presenting on one of my favorite topics, “Special People, Special Planning.” Instead, the course of the universe was shifting, introducing me to new people and new experiences that will inevitably change my life.

I love dogs. Big dogs, little dogs, it really doesn’t matter. I love dogs so much, I already have five – mostly rescues but of various sizes, shapes and breeding. I have always wondered what it would be like to be a puppy raiser for a service dog organization. I have clients who have raised puppies. I have clients who have been the recipients of these puppies. I thought this was something I might do – later, when I have more time in my life! But why wait? When I met the people at New Horizons, my heart was changed and I wanted to do this – now. Really, I’m a little obsessed. I have thought about this prospect every single day since the possibility became a probability, and now, almost a reality.

My first hurdle was my husband, Joe. As I mentioned, we already have five dogs. We also have 3 horses and 4 cats. He reminds me regularly we don’t need any more pets. But this isn’t a pet in the true sense of the word. It’s an assignment with a beginning and an end. You get the puppy at 8 weeks, and then you have to return it for further advanced training at 18 months. Actually, Joe turned out to be the easy part. His only requirement was that I find a co-puppy raiser who could take on some of responsibility of the daily care and socialization of the puppy.

Fortunately, I have my own business where I already bring a dog (Leiden) to work every day. What’s one more, small, barely noticeable puppy? What I need is a co-raiser who lives close enough to my office (or even works there) who will bring the puppy to the office every day. Then every evening, I can bring my shared puppy to the co-raiser’s home for the evening. Then, rinse and repeat until Friday when I’ll take the puppy home for the weekend. It’s the perfect plan. Surely someone will think this is a great idea and say, “yes, pick me, let’s do this!”

I have to admit, this part turned out to be harder than I thought. I had several really, really good candidates who determined (for various reasons – all acceptable) this was not a good time for them to become part of a puppy-raiser team. Now I really am obsessed. I’m constantly thinking about the perfect puppy partner. Then wham! It dawns on me – my friend, Ellie Hall is a perfect choice. She lives near my office, she’s retired, we enjoy each others' company and she and her husband love dogs (and have even talked about getting one). I call her immediately and present “the plan.” Now I have to wait – until she has a chance to talk to her husband, think about all the pros and cons, weigh all the options, etc. When I can’t stand it any longer, I call her back – “What’s the verdict?” Yahoo! She says they discussed all the possibilities and they think this is a great time for them to consider co-puppy raising! I couldn’t be happier. Did I mention, I sent my application in yesterday, pre-Ellen’s agreement as a sign to the Universe that this was a good idea?

Now Ellen’s excited and she’s busily filling out her application. I’ve contacted Megan to let her know we are on board – now eagerly awaiting approval from New Horizons! Keep your fingers crossed!!!!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Professional Caregivers - Worth the Price

Here's a perfect example of why people should not hire unlicensed caregivers to provide for their elderly or disabled loved ones. We recommend only reputable organizations that can provide screenings, including a criminal background check. Protect your loved ones who want to remain at home - it's worth the price of a professional caregiver.

If you have questions about long term care insurance, asset protection planning for long term care including Medicaid planning, or special needs trusts, please feel free to attend one of our regular educational workshops at The Law Offices of Hoyt & Bryan, LLC.

Caretaker accused of leaving woman underfed, wounded

Hoyt & Bryan Presents: 3rd Annual Special Needs Conference

This will be the third year we've offered this all-day special needs conference for families with special needs children. The program has been well-attended and well-received in earlier years. This year we have a great line up of speakers including Eric Bolves, speaking on disability law, Laura Pichardo speaking on appealing the Medwaiver tier assignment, Pam Lindemann, an IEP advocate, along with members of the Hoyt & Bryan team speaking on the basics on special needs trusts, as well as special needs trust administration.

In addition, the program will offer attendees an opportunity to interact with various vendors serving the special needs community. The only cost to attend is $20 to defray the cost of providing lunch.

We hope you'll mark your calendars, RSVP and plan to join us for this annual event.

Hoyt & Bryan Presents: 3rd Annual Special Needs Conference

Hoyt & Bryan In the News - Congratulations to Randy Bryan

Congratulations to my partner, Randy Bryan for being chosen a Super Lawyer and among Florida's Legal Elite. I appreciate all he does for our firm and our profession. He is definitely someone to be admired and appreciated - I do as he makes our practice outstanding in many, many ways. Thanks Randy for the excellent job!

Hoyt & Bryan In the News

Tradition of Excellence - Making time for what's important

This is a special thank you to Merrell Bailey, the General Practice Solo and Small Firm Section of the Florida Bar and all my friends who made Friday night's award reception at the Florida Bar convention memorable. I am so touched and honored to have the opportunity to receive this prestigious award. I can't begin to tell you what it means to me. What I can tell you is that every single person who is important to me had a hand in making this happen and I appreciate that, very much.

I have more ideas than time to implement them. For those that know me, you are probably saying - really, you have ideas? I make lists of ideas. I have big ideas, little ideas, realistic ideas, unrealistic ideas - my ideas have ideas. What I don't have more of - like everyone - is time. We all get the same amount, every day - a mere twenty four (24) hours.

How we choose to use our twenty four (24) hours is what sets us apart. I believe we all have time to do the things that are important to us. In fact, if it's important enough, we will "make" the time. That's how we get things done and prioritize what we are willing and unwilling to do. I make it a priority to spend time with my pets - my dogs, my cats and my horses. I make time to ride every week - unless I'm out of town. I make time to exercise, to read, to write in my journal, to blog. And you are the same - you make time to do the things that are important to you.

When someone says, "I don't have time," what they are really saying is, "I'm not willing to make the time for this activity. This is not a priority for me." Although I may not always like the response, it's not for me to determine someone else's priorities.

Also at the top of the list for getting things done is my favorite topic, delegation. I may not be able to do everything myself, but with help, I can leverage my time and get lots more done. How do you think Oprah gets everything done that she's accomplished? She doesn't do it all herself! She has an army of people make her look great and accomplish great things.

My best advice to anyone starting out in business is to figure out what absolutely, positively has to be done by you - and do that. What doesn't have to be done by you can probably be done by someone else, at a lower cost. One of the best pieces of advice I ever received was from Anita Coburn, one of my dad's friends. She said, "Buy off those things in life that cause you stress." Wiser words of wisdom do not exist. As a result, I get help cleaning my house, feeding my pets when I can't be home on time, and ALL of the things that help my office to run smoothly.

I have a great team - in fact, "the best team ever!" Every single person is integral to the effective operation of The Law Offices of Hoyt & Bryan, LLC. It has taken years to develop our team - and we are constantly adding new team members, improving our level of service. It is primarily to my team that I owe a debt of gratitude. They help me accomplish so much - really leverage every minute we have of the business week. I really appreciate them and what they allow me to accomplish.

So, thanks to the team. The team at my office, the team at my home, the team at the Florida Bar, the team that is the General Practice Solo and Small Firm Section, the team that consists of my friends and supporters, the team that comprise my clients. Thanks for everything!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Women and Money

This newsletter is put out by a friend and colleague, Walt Dallas. It contains great information for women regarding the law and their money. Take a look. Women have to be proactive in the financial and legal arenas. I look at my mother's generation and it seems the men were in charge of all the important financial and legal details. As a result, if the husband died or became disabled, the women were rarely equipped to feel confident making these decisions. For young women, there's no time like the present to learn all you can. I was fortunate working in the financial services industry as a young career person and then going on to law school knowing estate planning was my chosen field.

Yet, I'm never amazed to learn that even the most accomplished of us have neglected this very important area of our lives. There are stories of successful executives and even Supreme Court justices that didn't have their financial and estate planning houses in order. It's the typical, "cobbler kids have no shoes" scenario.

The busiest day of the week is always tomorrow. Make a commitment to get your financial and legal house in order today!

0611WomenLawMoney / 0

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Happy Trustee

It is not unusual to name a family member as the initial or successor Trustee of a revocable living trust, charitable trust, irrevocable life insurance trust or special needs trust. The challenge comes when the Trustee is required to carry out their duties. Do they know what to do? Do they know how to do it? What is their tolerance for risk? Their attention to detail? Their willingness to engage the services of a legal professional to ensure they are compliant with the law?

Many believe the role of Trustee is simple, that somehow all of the real work gets done by the document itself. There could be nothing further from the truth. Taking on the responsibility of Trustee is huge and it does have risks. We routinely discourage family member trustees when it appears no one will take the job seriously. I met with clients recently who have a special needs daughter. The daughter was left assets in a special needs trust by a deceased relative. However, when the distribution was made, it was made as an outright distribution and not in trust. The result - these assets are now considered an available resource to the disabled individual and will impact her ability to qualify for SSI or Medicaid.

Lots of war stories abound. How about the son named as successor Trustee when his dad died? Neither the son, nor the mother (nor the financial advisor who was providing the financial and legal guidance) understood the benefits of mom receiving the assets as part of a credit shelter trust. As a result, mom intimidated the son into making an outright distribution of the trust assets. The credit shelter estate tax exemption was lost along with other asset protection benefits afforded by the trust.

These are just the tip of the iceberg. These individuals didn't do anything wrong - they just didn't understand what they were supposed to do and what their obligation as Trustee imposed upon them. How about the Trustee who ends up utilizing all of the trust funds for his own benefit and not for the benefit of the beneficiary? I've seen more than my share of these egregious cases. The beneficiaries then end up spending thousands of dollars on litigation or worse, say nothing and accept the financial abuse imposed upon them for fear of causing family disharmony.

The selection of a Trustee is one of the most important estate planning decisions that can be made. If you have questions, feel free to attend one of our educational workshops at The Law Offices of Hoyt & Bryan, LLC, or call us at 407-977-8080 for a complimentary phone consultation.

The Happy Trustee

Monday, June 20, 2011


This is the event The Law Offices of Hoyt & Bryan attended at Lake Eola. Another special thanks to all friends of Hoyt & Bryan who participated in this year's stuffed animal drive. We'll be doing it again next year - really makes the kids happy. And, it's a good excuse to clear out those gently loved stuffed pets. Thanks to the Kucks for their hard work on this event. It gets bigger and bigger every year, serving the needs of Central Florida's disabled community. Mark your calendars for next year - Saturday June 2, 2012. We'll be there!


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Seven Silly Superstitions About Cryonics Trusts

Maybe you've never heard of cryonics? If you have, you may not have considered cryonic preservation for yourself or loved ones. Cryonic preservation is generally defined as being preserved in a frozen state until such time as technology would permit a person's revival to a fully functioning state - memories and all. Although this might sound like the stuff of a science fiction move, truth can be odder than fiction.

Rudi Hoffman, CFP presents a straight forward (if not blunt) approach to some superstitions (myths, if you will) about cryonics trusts. A cryonics trust or as I call them, Personal Revival Trusts are used for the purpose of preserving assets well into an unknown future. Medical technology is progressing (and pretty rapidly in my opinion) in this area. The medical community can do things today they only recently dreamed about. The legal community (particularly those interested in the idea of cryonics) is working hard to try and anticipate and understand all the interesting nuances preservation and revival will ultimately generate. I'm fascinated by the unique legal issues cryonics trusts present. We don't currently have all the answers but we are creating trusts today for the purpose of meeting the needs of our clients in the future.

Seven Silly Superstitions About Cryonics Trusts

Training Employees into a Dream Team! » You won’t believe what your receptionist just did to your biggest client!

Here's an article by Molly Hall and Laney Chavis, the "Don't be a Yes Chick!" girls and personal friends about the importance of training your team. As you may recall, we have been on a journey for almost a year now to find a new receptionist. We promoted Tiffany Metz, our former receptionist, to assist with office administration and marketing when team member, Kendra Ferreri left to begin her life as full-time mom. We should have known this would be no easy task - seemed like it took forever to find Tiffany.

Meanwhile, Tiffany has been holding down two jobs - receptionist and her new position. She's done very well, but that's not the point. We really need a receptionist. Tough part is, this person becomes the voice and face of the Law Offices of Hoyt & Bryan, LLC and this is not a position we take lightly. Like the title of this blog, your receptionist can help you attract and retain clients OR they can just as easily scare them away. We, like you, work very hard at our marketing efforts. We don't need one person, poorly trained or with a bad attitude, to undo all of our efforts.

I'm happy to report we extended an offer last Tuesday to Jackie Woods and she accepted. She's been with us a whole three days, and I hate to be overly optimistic, but so far, so good. She seems bright, energetic and eager to learn and to please. All excellent qualities for a new team member. We are keeping our fingers crossed and training her slowly, at least as slowly as she'll let us.

Molly posted this article just about the time we found Jackie. I actually printed it for both Tiffany and Jackie and I'm re-enforcing it's message. Fortunately for us, voice mail is only an option if all lines are busy or we aren't there. All calls in our office are answered personally. I'm still old school enough I like to talk to a person when I call. Although I don't usually mind leaving a voice mail message for someone - I can actually tell them more of what I want, I still appreciate companies that have a live person to talk to.

Stay tuned. I'm hoping there is nothing but good news to report.

Oh, forgot to mention. We found Jackie and also another new hire - hasn't actually started yet, on Craigslist. We were actually warned not to post a job offer there and we hesitated for a long time. We just weren't getting enough and enough quality applicants from our other sources - mostly the local college resource centers. So, we hoped we could outsmart the typical Craigslist job seeker. We designed a quiz for the candidates - they had to go to our website, they had to answer 5 specific questions whose answers could only be found on the website, and they had to send their resume and answers to a specific email address. Anyone who could accomplish this task - and they had a resume that was grammatically correct without typos and misspellings would be offered an interview. Easy right? Wrong! You would not believe the number of people who could not do the easy things we were asking them to do. Fortunately this exercise saved our team hundreds of what would have been wasted hours talking to people we wouldn't even consider. Amazing how many hours were spent doing that anyway. I was starting to think that the bulk of the unemployed population was unemployed because they needed to be - at least that was representative of what we saw - and that was the best of the best.

As you may know, our team hires the team. We've discovered over the years this is the most cost effective, efficient, and ultimately best way to hire team members. Our team is much harder on a potential new hire than we are - they realize they have to train and work with this person every single day. They want to make sure this is someone who makes the whole team look good - someone who will do their fair share and not bring a lot of drama or unnecessary stress to our work environment. It's only when the team says "yes" that Randy and I meet with a candidate. Easy for us, as we are generally in agreement. When they make a hiring mistake, they tell us and we move on. Sometimes the team will actually do the firing - depending on the circumstances.

Right now, life at works feels good. All positions are filled, everyone is working hard. Have a great week!

Training Employees into a Dream Team! » You won’t believe what your receptionist just did to your biggest client

Friday, June 17, 2011

Eldercare: How to hire your kids to take care of you | Reuters Wealth

A personal service or personal care contract is one way parents can employ their children for providing the daily care they currently provide out of the goodness of their hearts. Personal service contracts are also a valuable Medicaid planning tool for families faced with a long term care crisis and insufficient assets to provide for an aging parent indefinitely.

For more information on how to protect family assets from the ravages of long term care costs, check out this article or attend one of our complimentary "Truth About Estate Planning" workshops. You can find more information our website - The Law Offices of Hoyt & Bryan, LLC. . Both Randy Bryan and I are dual board certified by the Florida Bar in Wills, Trusts and Estates along with Elder Law.

Eldercare: How to hire your kids to take care of you | Reuters Wealth

How Do I Find An Estate Planning Attorney?

This article written by colleague David Meredith illustrates perfectly the issues related to finding and selecting an estate planning attorney. The Law Offices of Hoyt & Bryan have been members of WealthCounsel for a number of years. We will be attending their annual conference in July in Chicago for the purpose of continuing to improve our knowledge and skills as well as interacting with other like-minded attorneys. If you have questions about our qualifications or want more information, don't hesitate to contact me at or call us at 407-977-8080.

How Do I Find An Estate Planning Attorney? | Meredith Law Firm, PC - Principal office located in The Woodlands, TX 77381

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Fulfilling Your Aging Parent’s “Living Wishes” | Business Wire

I love the idea of fulfilling a living wish. Far too often we wait until it's too late to honor the people we love. Today is the day to make a wish come true, to consider the needs of a parent, family member or friend.

My dad, John A. Hoyt, is currently residing in a nursing home. Sadly, his primary living wish is to go home. Currently, that is not a wish we can honor as his daily care needs require twenty-four hour round the clock care. We have promised him we will bring him home for his final days. It's a really sad statement, one we struggle with. As a family we would love to honor his current wish and have him at home. Practically, and for his health and my mother's health - both physical and mental, we have to provide him with the best care possible at a facility located close to home. He is visited frequently by friends and family from all stages of his life. He is loved well.

Another way we honored a living wish for our dad was to create a book in his memory. He always told us he was going to write a book called, Letters to my Children. It would have been fantastic! As the oldest, I figured there might be more about me than anyone else. When it became clear he was never going to write the book, my sister, Julie Hoyt Dorman and I gathered a collection of things my dad had written throughout his lifetime - speeches, sermons, poems and letters. Julie designed the book and its cover. I edited and compiled the written selections. The end result was a book called, I Live but Once. The book was titled after a poem of the same name. My dad could not be prouder of that book - you'd think he was a New York Times best selling author! We are happy we could honor him in this way.

If you have a loved one you want to honor, there are an unlimited number of ways to do that. For suggestions, check out a book I co-authored with Scott Farnsworth, Like a Library Burning - Sharing and Saving Stories of a Lifetime.

Fulfilling Your Aging Parent’s “Living Wishes” | Business Wire

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Who Should Be The Beneficiary Of Your IRA?

This is a very common question - who should be the beneficiary of your IRA? Sometimes, it depends on who you ask. If you ask a financial advisor, they may say to name your spouse. They will usually say, you should never name your revocable living trust. If you ask me, Randy Bryan or one of our associates or colleagues at WealthCounsel, you'll usually get a completely different answer. Sometimes the correct answer is, "it depends." The answer to this question may depend on a number of factors, including whether this is a first or second marriage, whether you have sufficient other assets to take advantage of your full estate tax exemption, and whether you have charitable interests, just to name a few. If you have a child with special needs and a special needs trust, again, the answer could be astonishingly different. There is no one size fits all answer to this question. Discuss your concerns with a board certified attorney in wills, trusts and estates before making your final decision.

Who Should Be The Beneficiary Of Your IRA?

Breaking News On Tax Breaks For the Animal Rescuers Among Us | petMD

This is just the kind of animal lover, tax deduction story I love to hear! Congratulations to all those people committed to animal rescue that now have their efforts legitimized by the tax court! Go ahead and deduct those expenses. While you are at it, why not consider naming an animal rescue organization as a deserving recipient in your estate plan? Retirement plans make the perfect gifting vehicle - avoid both the income tax and any potential estate tax that would result. You can also consider charitable gift annuities that would provide for a friend or loved one for a lifetime and provide the charity of your choice with a remainder interest gift. There are lots of ways we can do well by doing good. For more information, I cover the charitable giving topic in some detail in "All My Children Wear Fur Coats - How to Leave a Legacy for your Pet."

Breaking News On Tax Breaks For the Animal Rescuers Among Us | petMD

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Missouri! The state that showed me!

Ever been to Missouri? I didn't think I had, not realizing that Kansas City is in Missouri and not in Kansas - duh. Anyway, I've been here for a few days with friends Teresa Morgan, Barb and Frank Maloney of McClenny, Florida and Terry Hill of the Florida Bar. We were here on a scouting trip on behalf of the General Practice Solo and Small Firm Section in order to figure out what the MO Bar is doing so right to get so many people to attend their Solo Small Firm Conference. We arrived here on Wednesday after several flight delays - getting in and out of MO is harder than you think but more on that later.

The conference was really great. We met a ton of really nice people. We learned a lot of take back to Florida and to the Florida Bar. We think we can now do a better job than ever putting together a super conference for our membership. We got to experience the Lake of the Ozarks. It was actually really, really nice.

So after a few days of hard work, we were ready to head home. Only problem was the airport is about 1.5 hours from the Tan-Tar-A resort, the luncheon meeting ran long - until 2:30 ish and our plane was at 4:30. Still seemed like we had plenty of time. Did I mention when we flew in there was one airline - Delta (not my favorite before this and even more so now), two car rental agencies and a baggage claim area the size of my living room? At any rate, we arrived 27 minutes before our flight only to discover that we were locked out (by Delta's computer) from getting on our flight. Now mind you, it's the only airline and there are about 10 people on this flight. They are still in the boarding area, haven't boarded and we still can't get on the plane. I even talked to the pilot who had absolutely no sympathy for our situation. So now I'm stranded in Columbia, MO without a prayer of getting home tonight. The closest alternate airports are about 2 hours away and I can't make another flight tonight without trying to kill myself, get multiple speeding tickets, etc.

The interesting part is there is a young reporter at the airport. He's both the reporter and the camera man. He observes out whole predicament. I'm practically in tears and fuming. Teresa is handling this much better than me. I really wanted to go home! I miss my animals and planned on riding in the morning. This reporter decides to interview Teresa. Much better idea than interviewing me - especially if Delta doesn't want their name all over the MO airways. Now she's on at 6 and 10p.m. in Columbia
We are trying to make the best of a bad situation. We sit here at Bennigan's enjoying a martini, some quesadillas and looking forward to the movie, Bridesmaids The local Marriott took pity on us and gave us a room with a hot tub. Looks like things are looking up....stay tuned.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Life in Transition

This is an article I wrote for WealthCounsel. Talks about life and all its interesting transitions. Enjoy!

Life in Transition

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Take a Tour of SendOutCards

Ever wonder what happens when you hit send after creating a SendOutCards? I did and was fortunate enough to be able to visit the home office in Salt Lake City, Utah. Here's a short video on what happens when you send a card. It is really fascinating and amazing.

If you want to know more about SendOutCards, send a free card on me at You can even send gifts, videos and big cards!