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Bar News - June 6, 2008

Planning and Probate Veterans Look Back

The Elder Law & Estate Planning Section’s May 7, 2008 meeting featured a panel of elder law veterans – Retired Probate Court Administrative Judge John Maher (not pictured), and (left to right) William Boesch, moderator Robert Wells, Charles DeGrandpre and Charles Heard.

The NHBA Elder Law, Estate Planning and Probate Law Section recently hosted a meeting – Anecdotes and Object Lessons from Our Planning and Probate Veterans – at the Bar Center, where eight veteran panelists, with a combined experience of 282 years, touched on the topics most important to them.

Panelists Bill Boesch, Charlie Heard, Charles DeGrandpre, Susan Leahy, Chuck Leahy, Bob Wells, Hon. John Maher and Mae Bradshaw spoke on numerous subjects, from life insurance to the modernization of probate laws and practices.

Much was made of the importance of staying abreast of developments in the variety of planning and probate law practice areas. Charlie Heard spoke of the wealth of information that could be obtained from credible and qualified life insurance salespeople, as the proper use of life insurance is an ever more complex practice.

Judge Maher hit on several topics regarding the probate court. He also touched upon the quickly changing nature of the probate laws, which as of 1983, had their last extensive update in 1890. Since that time, he says, the court has exploded with changes seeking to modernize and innovate, a process that Maher says, "we must continue."

Bill Boesch took another direction, saying that the 25 years he spent with the IRS as an Estate Tax Counsel provided virtually no "psychic or emotional rewards," an experience that differed considerably from his private practice, in which his efforts were more appreciated, since he was working hand-in-hand with clients to sort through difficult situations.

Judge Maher, aside from the developments in probate law, also spoke of learning how to care for the client – not for personal monetary gain, but for the desire to better the client’s life – saying, "The first reasons to choose this career are a liking for the work; you must want to help other people."

Editor’s Note: If you would like to learn more about the Elder Law, Estate Planning and Probate Law Section, login to the For Members area of the Bar’s website,, and click on the Section tab. And stay tuned for a video of the meeting that will be available through the Bar’s website.

Editor’s Note: Check out the NHBA-CLE Program, "What Every Trust and Estate Lawyer Needs to Know About Florida Law," chaired by Bob Wells, scheduled for September 24, 2008. More information can be found on the Bar’s website,

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