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.

The Funny Birthday Hat: 5 Reasons Why Family Traditions Are Important

If you are friends with me on Facebook, you’ve probably seen the birthday hat. I wore it for my birthday a couple weeks ago. It’s really tall and colorful — kind of like something The Cat in the Hat would wear, only this hat has Mickey Mouse on it.

Like many families, we have our own special traditions. Family traditions are one of the things that make working with families so wonderful. No two are alike. Each one is special.My family’s birthday hat came about because my mom saw a similar tradition she liked with a friend of hers, so when my brother and his wife went to Disney, they found the perfect hat to start our family’s tradition. They bought it and carried it around the park all day. And then they hand carried it on the plane so it wouldn’t get squished! My mom received it as a Christmas present in 2005, and we’ve been celebrating with it ever since.

When Bailey was nearing her 4th birthday, my dad asked her what she wanted. She said, “I want to eat ice cream and wear the funny hat!” She recently turned 7 and she’s still wearing the hat for her birthdays.1475853_786756528004826_823737416_n

Why are family traditions so important? Here are 5 quick reasons:

1. They create memories that last a lifetime.
2. They give family members a stronger sense of belonging.
3. They help impart the family’s values.
4. They give children/teens a sense of security.
5. They keep generations in contact and give them something in common.

Family traditions have even been linked to higher family strength and higher family satisfaction. What special family traditions do you have for celebrating the milestones of life?


Tennessee Vacation 2013

We recently went to Tennessee with my parents and my brother’s family. Here are few of the fun pictures we took (click on the picture if you’d like to see a larger version):

Vacation Pics 2013

We had a great time in Florida with Michelle’s parents. Here are some of the highlights in pictures:

Bailey dyeing Easter eggs in Florida.

Bailey dyeing Easter eggs in Florida.

These Easter bunny cinnamon rolls are going to be delicious!
These Easter bunny cinnamon rolls are going to be delicious!



The Edwards family all dressed up for Easter morning.
The Edwards family all dressed up for Easter morning.

Cole insisted on wearing his monkey backpack to church, so Bailey helped him put it on.

Cole insisted on wearing his monkey backpack for the Easter pictures.


Michelle and Bailey. Happy Easter!

Michelle and Bailey. Happy Easter!


David playing on the beach with the kids.

David playing on the beach with the kids.

The kids loved playing in the sand.

The kids loved playing in the sand.

Fun in the sun!

Fun in the sun!


We even made it to Disney World for a few days!

We even made it to Disney World for a few days!


Winnie the Pooh and Tigger, too!

Winnie the Pooh and Tigger, too!


David and Michelle in front of the world's most famous castle.

David and Michelle in front of the world’s most famous castle.


One cool little dude just chillin' on the boat.

One cool little dude just chillin’ on the boat.


Do I have something on my face?

Do I have something on my face?


At Spring Training with Bailey! Go Cards!

At Spring Training with Bailey! Go Cards! (Even though game was Orioles vs. Tampa Bay)


Remember that guide book I told you about last week that said, "NO CUBS FANS"? Well, here it is!

Remember that guide book I told you about last week that said, “NO CUBS FANS”? Well, here it is!


Guess What Was on the Front Seat? A Lesson in Security

Elisa, who helps with our newsletters and marketing, saw something interesting recently. I asked her to share it with you. Read on to find out what she saw:

Protecting Your Info

I was at Jimmy John’s in Bloomington a while back, on my way to visit Edwards Group, when the car I parked next to caught my eye. It was an older Oldsmobile (insert joke about your father’s Oldsmobile here), kinda banged up with all the windows rolled down. As I got out of my car I couldn’t help but notice a suit coat thrown over the passenger’s seat and legal briefcases in the backseat. I thought, “Wow. High tech security.” I wondered what kind of attorney would leave briefcases like that, most likely full of confidential information, out in the open without lock and key.

I ran into Jimmy John’s and got my Slim #1 and walked back to the car. As I passed the Oldsmobile this time I noticed a document sitting on the front passenger’s seat just below the suit jacket. It read, “The Last Will and Testament of…” and that’s when I stopped reading. I know all wills become public documents at some point, but the fact that it was just sitting there out in the open just didn’t feel right. What was this attorney thinking?

Naturally, I thought of my work with Edwards Group and how seriously Dave and the rest of the staff take security and confidentiality. They even use the latest technology to protect the sensitive information clients give them when working on their plans. And Dave most certainly doesn’t drive around town with your information in his car, windows down and car unlocked!

In case you’re wondering what kind of information you’ll need to give when you start working with Edwards Group, or if you’ve been putting off filling out the forms in the Starter Packet for your Initial Meeting, just click HERE to get started.

Bailey’s Office Signs

Bailey loves coming in to the office with me. When she’s here, she usually does a little redecorating by making her own signs for the office doors.

You can read more about Laura Peffley, our Senior Asset Coordinator, here.

And read about Liis Casey, Asset Coordinator, here.

To learn more about attorney Amanda Lundeen, click here.

Dave’s Vacation Photos

Every year we go on a trip with my parents and brother’s family. We usually make great memories, and this year was no exception with a great trip to Glacier National Park in Montana.

Here are a few pics!

Lake McDonald, Glacier National Park










Halfway up going to the Sun Road












Riding up the Whitefish Mountain ski lift












Cousins eating ice cream at Sweet Peaks, Whitefish, Montana










Cole loves silly glasses




















Monkey in the middle?




Edwards Group Welcomes New Attorney

Attorney Amanda Lundeen joined the team at Edwards Group on April 2. She will be working at the firm part-time.

Amanda has known Dave for many years. They worked together in the same law firm after law school, and Dave even had a hand in hiring Amanda for her first job. Their shared values and involvement at the same church developed a friendship beyond just colleagues.

Amanda studied Psychology at Northern Illinois University and then went on to Washington University School of Law in St. Louis. Around the same time that Dave was thinking about starting Edwards Group, Amanda left their firm to work for the Attorney General’s office.

In 2009 she had her first son and was able to transition to part-time work. She now has another son who will be turning one in July. Amanda jokes that her main hobby is “chasing after little boys.”

Amanda says that she has always been interested in estate planning, but has been especially interested in the Edwards Group process because it’s so different. She is happy to be onboard with a firm that serves their clients so well.

When Amanda isn’t busy chasing her 2-year-old and 9-month-old boys around, she enjoys getting outside with the whole family, biking and being involved in the family’s church.

Her secret goal while working at Edwards Group is to get Dave’s daughter, Bailey, into a Cubs shirt. When asked about bringing a Cubs fan into the office, Dave replied, “Yeah, well, even Cubs fans have some good qualities!” Stop by the office and see how the Cubs fan and Cardinals fan are getting along after this week’s series finishes up in Chicago!

Fall Family Fun

Celebrating families is one of the things that makes Edwards Group unique. We’re not just about documents. We’re about relationships. That’s why we love sharing our families with our clients.

We hope that you and your family are having a wonderful fall and finding time to celebrate the relationships in your life that make it worth living!

A zombie lawyer and his wife. (Joshua and Cecile Becker)

Kinsey and Maxton Becker

Ninja Power! (aka: Mathijs, Joshua's oldest)

Cole Edwards napping in the pumpkin patch.

David Edwards with daughter Bailey enjoying a beautiful fall day at the pumpkin patch.

Cole the Laughing Elephant

Grant and Sarah Edwards, Dave's nephew and niece (and children of Beth Edwards, our business manager)

Josie, granddaughter of Laura Peffley, Asset Coordinator, playing in the leaves

Bailey Edwards

Bailey Edwards with little brother Cole napping at the pumpkin patch.