Halloween 2016

At Edwards Group we expect our clients to share some pretty personal information with us in order to prepare the best plan possible for their families. That’s part of the reason it’s so important for us to share our families with you.

Everything we do centers around taking care of families and making life a little easier for families dealing with the stresses of aging or grieving.

Here are our annual Halloween pics of the Edwards Group children!

Dave Opens for Doc Severinsen

Taylorville is my hometown (read more about Attorney David Edwards here), and I’m in a Facebook group where people share memories of Taylorville. A while back, the topic came up:

“What celebrities do you remember coming to Taylorville?”

There were all kinds of interesting comments:

  • Sandy Duncan came to town to dedicate “Sandy Duncan Drive.” Duncan was born and raised in Texas, but her character in Funny Face and The Sandy Duncan Show was from Taylorville!
  • A lot of country singers visited Nashville North, a concert hall who hosted many acts as they traveled between St. Louis and Chicago. The long list includes Bon Jovi (in their early days), the Oak Ridge Boys and Loretta Lynn, just to name a few.
  • Ted Nugent (at the roller rink!)
  • Elvis at the KFC (I think this one was a joke…)

Anyway, I posted a comment, too. Back in about 1986, Doc Severinsen came to town. (Do you remember him? The trumpet player and band leader for Johnny Carson?) He was playing two shows at Nashville North like so many others. And guess who was his opening act? The Taylorville High School Jazz Band, complete with me in the trumpet section! Check out the photo below. (Can you tell which one is me?)

Doc Severinsen - Taylorville

So, what does this have to do with estate planning?

We ask our clients to share A LOT of personal information with us. It’s necessary so we can help them develop the most effective plan possible. In addition to all the financial information, it’s important for us to get to know the families we work with, where they come from and what’s important to them.

Because that high level of trust is so important, it can’t be a one-way street. It’s important that our clients get to know our attorneys and our staff as well. So, we periodically share personal stories so you can get to know us better.

I bet you didn’t know an estate planning attorney from Taylorville, Illinois, played trumpet with Doc Severinsen did you?

If you know you need to do estate planning or even update an existing plan, attending our FREE Intro to Edwards Group: Wills and Trusts Orientation workshop is a great way to get to know our unique approach and if we’re a good match for working together. Give us a call at 217-726-9200 to RSVP for an upcoming workshop (click here for dates).

The Night Before Christmas – Edwards Group Edition

Part of the thing our clients love about Edwards Group is that we strive to treat everyone like family. Sometimes that means sharing some personal things (just like we expect our clients to share personal things with us). The staff wrote a great rendition of The Night Before Christmas for Dave one year. It’s too good not to share!

‘Twas the day of the workshop when all through the firm,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a worm.
Drafts were piled up on Dave‘s desk with care,
Tarina needed them reviewed but said, “Don’t despair.”

Our clients were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of trust documents danced in their heads.
And Dave in his khakis and white oxford shirt,
Had just settled an estate dispute out of court.
When down the long hall there arose such a clatter,
Dave sprang from his desk to see what was the matter.
Away to the copier he flew like a flash,
Tore open the doors and said, “This copier’s trash!”

The fluorescent bulbs gave off such a glow,
Dave couldn’t see that the toner was low.
When what to his wondering eyes did appear?
But a conference room full of members were here.
With a shout to Tarina, “Come get this fixed!
I need those trust documents printed and quick!”

More rapid than eagles, his staff quickly came,
And whistled and shouted and called them by name.
“Now Tarina! Now Laura! Now Sandy! Now Liis!
On Amanda and Melissa and Chris, help me please.”

The phones started ringing, computers went down.
Doors started dinging but Dave didn’t frown.
Tarina answered phones, while Sandy called Jeff.
Laura greeted clients. Dave took a deep breath.

He filled up his water and walked into the meeting,
Then gave the Dynasty members a warm greeting.
As Dave was speaking, down the hall you could hear,
Giggling and playing, our children dear.
As Dave shut the door and was turning around,
Through the front door St. Nicholas did bound.

He said, “Dave’s again on my nice list this year.
So I’ve come to fill the office with cheer.
He’s been honest, caring, hardworking, sincere.
Takes care of his staff all throughout the year.
He uses his knowledge to serve clients well.
He’s a generous boss – I know you can tell.
His relaxed demeanor puts clients at ease.
He’s patient and always so eager to please.
He’s a loving father to Bailey and Cole,
Michelle would say he’s a kind-hearted soul.”

A new copy machine, Santa pulled from his sack,
With plenty of toner, both colored and black.
With a clap of his hands the staff went to work,
“And now for those trusts,” Santa said with a smirk.
Tarina approached the man with the hat,
Saying, “No worries at all. There’s a checklist for that!”

The gleeful staff then loaded the paper to print,
While Santa nibbled on a green peppermint.
The trusts were delivered to Dave and the crowd.
The ooh’s and the ahh’s of the members were loud.
With eyes shining brightly, Dave grinned at St. Nick.
Then he said, “Why thank you. That new copier’s slick.”

It was all suddenly over in quite a hurry.
Santa hopped in his sleigh in the midst of a flurry.
But we all heard him shout, heading into the blue-
“Next year I need my planning updated, too!”

Summer of 2015 – Family Fun

The Edwards family had a pretty low key summer, but still made fun memories at baseball games, Six Flags, swimming and going to the Wisconsin Dells. Here are some pictures of the highlights.

Is Your Estate Plan Old and Clunky?

David Edwards loves what he does, and it’s obvious because he can connect just about anything to estate planning! In this post, Dave and his dad explore how estate planning is like… old tennis rackets. 

Estate Planning is Like… Old Tennis Rackets

When my parents were first married (around 1967 or so), my mom’s parents gave them each a tennis racket. They were nice sturdy wooden rackets with the frames that you could screw down to keep them from warping.

My parents used them a little, but not too much before they ended up in storage in the attic above the garage. When I was in the 10th grade, I signed up for tennis at the YMCA one summer. Since I needed a racket, my dad proudly offered, “We have a couple of nice ones up in the attic. Barely been used.”

I came home after that first lesson and said, “Dad, the coach said that I need a new racket.” As we shopped for the new racket, my dad later told me he realized just how much things had changed in the past 20 years or so. That wooden racket was really heavy and clunky compared to the new, lightweight metal ones.

Dave and the Taylorville Boys Tennis Team

David Edwards and the Taylorville Boys Tennis Team around 1989

David Edwards and the Taylorville Boys Tennis Team around 1989

Dave’s Dad Tells Us How Old Rackets are Like Estate Planning (And No, Estate Planning is Not a Racket!)

Recently my dad reminded me of this story and thought it would be a good topic for a newsletter or a post. And he was right!

Old tennis rackets are like estate planning… if we’re not careful, our estate plans can become “clunky old wooden rackets” and be really out of date. They just won’t get the job done.

But there’s another great lesson in here, too, concerning our children —

Don’t send them out into the world with “clunky old wooden rackets.” Be sure to give them the training and the tools they need to face what lies ahead.

Our firm is pretty unique in that we work with the whole family to draft an estate plan that is effective. That means that when the time comes to put your plan into action, your kids will already have met us, know who to call, and we will help guide them through the process during one of the most stressful times of their life. What better tool to get the job done?

If you’re new to Edwards Group and wondering if we’re the right estate planning firm for you, please check out our FREE workshop, Intro to Edwards Group: Wills and Trusts Orientation. We hold them every month and they are great for:

  • Those who know they should plan but are intimidated by the process.
  • Those who already have an estate plan, but are unhappy with it.
  • Those considering Edwards Group for estate planning.

Call 217-726-9200 to save your spot at an upcoming workshop or to request more information. Just for attending, you’ll receive $200 off your initial meeting fee if you decide to work with us.

Estate Planning is Like… Birthday Cake

Much like your favorite birthday cake flavor, everyone likes different things when it comes to estate planning.

Well, as of March 5, I’m another year older! And to celebrate I got to have the best birthday cake in the world — spice cake with chocolate icing! What kind of cake do you request on your birthday?

Dave Bday cake 2015

In our family, everyone seems to have their own favorite. For my wife Michelle, it’s spice cake with white icing. (And she is forever trying to talk me into changing the icing on my birthday cake!) 8-year-old Bailey asks for white cake with white icing, and I’m not sure 4-year-old Cole has settled on a choice yet. My dad likes yellow cake with chocolate icing. My mom? Carrot cake with cream cheese icing. My brother, Jay, for decades requested turtle cake. (Which Michelle and I found out firsthand, does not turn out well if the recipe is copied down wrong!) Jay’s wife, Beth, likes white cake with white frosting just like Bailey.

Everyone’s got an opinion. Of course, the rest of them are all wrong! Spice cake with chocolate icing is clearly the best choice for a birthday cake.

And we haven’t even gotten to the ice cream! Some want chocolate. Some want vanilla. Others like cookie dough or cookies ‘n’ cream. We’ll save that for another blog post!

Everyone likes different things. The same choice does not work for everyone, even if they’re from the same family.

With your estate plan, you need a plan that fits your family – not a fill-in-the-blank form that doesn’t reflect your unique values, wishes, or family challenges.

And within your plan each child or loved one may have a different challenge or need that should be addressed. Don’t treat them all the same. Some want white icing. Others need chocolate. A good plan will take into account their personality, financial wisdom, and the unique situation of each heir.

If you need a more personalized (and therefore, more effective plan), our free workshop, Intro to Edwards Group: Wills and Trusts Orientation is a great way to get started. Call us at 217-726-9200 to RSVP for the next workshop. Find out our upcoming workshop dates here. Learn more about the workshop and what you’ll learn by attending, here.

The Value of Family Traditions

Ah, the holidays… a time when Michelle and I enjoy spending extra time with family. Family history and traditions mean a lot to us. Part of that family history involves names. Here are some interesting name connections in our family:

1. Otis – Bailey and Cole are the 5th generation in my dad’s family with a middle initial of “O.” My dad’s grandfather had the middle name Otis. My dad and grandpa had the middle name Oscar. Now I am David Otis and 4-year-old Cole has the middle name Otis as well. We kept it going with Bailey Olivia.

2. Bailey – Michelle’s Grandma Wilson had a maiden name of Bailey. Now Bailey is named after the family line.

3. Hall – Michelle’s maiden name is Hall. Her Grandma Hall was named Hall even BEFORE she was married. As she used to say, she was a “Hall and married a Hall.” Then came a lifetime of confusion about her maiden name and married name being the same!

4 generations picHere I am, circa 1971, with my Great Grandma Hise (whose husband had the middle name Otis), Grandma Edwards (holding me) and my father.

Does your family have a special naming history? Or any other traditions? This time of year is definitely a time when we think more often about those things that make our families unique and special. We’d love to hear about your family traditions. Share it on our Facebook page, and we might even feature it in a future email newsletter!

 

Halloween 2014

We ask our clients to share A LOT of personal information with us. It’s necessary for us to help them in the most effective way possible. Because of that high level of trust we ask you to place in us, and because my family is so important to me, I love sharing my family with all of you… and a few years back when I started Edwards Group, we somehow started a tradition of sharing fun Halloween/Fall pictures of our families. I hope you enjoy the latest version. We’ve even had a couple additions to the Edwards Group family this year. Just click on the first picture and you can see larger versions of them. Enjoy!

Dave's signature

 

Summer 2014

Our clients share a lot of personal information about their families with us. And that’s part of the reason I like to share my family with you. Families are why we do what we do!

This summer we spent a week in Branson with my parents and brother’s family. (The kids sat on the front row of a concert to hear some old fashioned banjo picking!) Then we spent a day or two here and there having fun – Lincoln Presidential Library, family reunion, Arch and Cardinal game in St. Louis, swimming with the kids, riding bikes. Hope you had a great summer! (Just click on the first picture to play as a slideshow)

 

An Exclusive Look at Dave’s Office

Daves Desk smallMost clients never see what you’re getting to see here – me in my office! That may seem strange, but clients don’t get to come in here because there is too much confidential information that I’m working on. If you look closely, you can even see client files turned over so you can’t see the names!

Here is a guided tour of what you see in the photo:

1. Glass box on the front of the desk. It says “AMB” which is my granddad, Arthur Bitzer. You may have heard me talk about him because he had really great stories, and we’re a lot alike. He owned a Dodge dealership in Salem and used to keep this box on his desk.

2. Illini lamp. (Back left.) Many of you know by now I’m a proud Illini. I-L-L!

3. Dilbert calendar. To the right of my phone, you’ll see a Dilbert calendar, which my wife Michelle gives me every Christmas.

4. Homemade calendars. On the shelf above my head you’ll see two homemade calendars with family photos that Michelle made.

5. Grade school lunchbox. Top left on the top of the shelf you’ll see my post office lunch box that I took to school growing up in Taylorville.

6. 1982 World Series Coke bottle. On the top right side of the top of the bookshelf (right next to the Fred Bird bobblehead!), you’ll see a 1982 Cardinals’ World Series Coke bottle.

7. 90-day goals. To the left of the Illini lamp on the wall, you’ll see my 90-day goals for the office. Four times a year I go to Orlando to meet with a business coach and 30 other estate planning attorneys from around the country. During that time we all share ideas and set goals for how we can better serve our clients.

8. Phone headset. Underneath the lamp is my phone headset. I use it when I’m on the phone so I can type or write notes.

9. Baseball calendar. On the front of the desk next to my grandfather’s glass box is my baseball calendar given to me by my brother, Jay, for Christmas years ago.

10. Glass of water. To the left of the Illini lamp, you’ll see my water with a brightly colored band around it. Bailey made this for me with her Rainbow Loom, which was all the rage in 1st grade.

11. Lamp. The lamp on the front of my desk has been with me since my first job out of law school with an Illinois Supreme Court judge in Peoria. The night before this picture was taken, the whole family made a special trip to Lowe’s to replace the old lampshade that was looking pretty ragged after being dropped over the years.

12. Photos from family vacation spot. On the wall on the back right are 2 photos taken in Waters, Michigan. The photo on the left was taken when I was 11 years old, at the dock house where we went every summer during my childhood. The photo on the right was taken in the same location in 2008 when our family went back to visit the area.

13. “I Love You” sign. On the bottom right of the photo on the floor there is a sign that Bailey made me. It says, “Daddy I Love You.” Bailey and Cole both love coming to my office, and I love having them here. Do you remember when Bailey made signs for all the office staff?

I think your office says a lot about who you are and what you value. I hope this sneak peak into my office shows you that things we value as an organization at Edwards Group are the same things I value as a person:

Family, history, traditions, memories, humor and hard work.

All of these things are the reason we do what we do on a daily basis. And they’re the reason we are driven to do it better than anyone else. Every family is special and unique. Every family deserves an effective plan to address and protect their unique needs.

If you’d like to read more about our one-of-a-kind process, and how it protects our clients and their loved ones, click here. If you’d like to learn more in person, call 217-726-9200 to save a spot at one of our upcoming workshops. To learn more about our free workshop offerings, click here.