Going Out in Style ( A Book Review )

By Maureen E. Hook, Ph.D.

October 3, 2014 

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Going Out in Style by Dee Branch Oliver is an informative and, at times, self-deprecating how-to-guide on dealing with the loss of a loved one. Ms. Oliver can speak authoritatively on the subject, because she is a former funeral director and has coped with the loss a husband seven years ago. As with many things in life, Ms. Oliver’s life plan took an unexpected turn when she married Johnnie Oliver, one of the principals in the H.D. Oliver Funeral Apts. Her beloved husband continued in the family tradition, and soon she became involved in the enterprise as well. Things were going along fine–they were very happy and had a lovely family of 3 daughters. Then, Johnnie died unexpectedly of a brain aneurism, and she was left to pick up the pieces.
She has done so successfully, and she is now a Planning Commissioner with the City of Virginia Beach. However, there were many things she had to deal with along the way. For example, at the time of his death, they had a will which mentioned 2 daughters. A 3rd daughter’s birth had not been noted in an amended will. Fortunately, this situation has subsequently been rectified, and all 3 daughters are covered in Ms. Oliver’s will. The lesson to be learned–update your will at each significant life event like the birth of a child.
It’s a short read of approximately 90 pages, but it’s packed full of great advice. It’s also quite entertaining. Chapter titles include things such as “No Hoarding Please,” “What Not to Wear to a Funeral,” and “What to Say (or Not) to the Bereaved.” Interestingly, though they had already purchased several cemetery plots for her family throughout the Tidewater area, when the time came to bury Johnnie, she felt none were right, and she purchased new plots in another location to lay him to rest. Ms. Oliver certainly has adapted to her changed circumstances with courage and humor.
The book is published by Slapp Creek Properties, Virginia Beach, Virginia (ISBN 978-0-9893911-0-8)(slappcreek.com).
ask kitkatNo Place to Go
Hook Law Center:  Kit Kat, what happens to pets that regular shelters can’t take care of or who may need extended, long-term care?
Kit Kat: Well, for the lucky few who live near Bremo Bluff, VA, there is a sanctuary called Peaceful Passings. It was started by Jackie Meyers in 2002. She, her husband, and 15 dedicated volunteers are currently caring for 21 dogs, 1 cat, and 2 birds in her home/property in a rural part of Virginia. All of these pets live inside, except 8 of the larger ones who have pens and covered shelter outside. She has made it her mission to care for older pets, usually who have had some health issues, and have no place to go. Hospice care is also available.
Take for example, the case of Rosie and Thelma, mini poodles who are now 11 and 13 years old, respectively. They were removed by the Humane Society (HSUS) from a neglectful setting in a North Carolina puppy mill last year and placed with Mrs. Meyers at Peaceful Passings. Rosie had to have both eyes removed because of infection, and Thelma had 1 eye removed. Nevertheless, they are thriving now with loving care, and navigating quite well despite their lack of no/limited vision. All pets in her care can be adopted. Her philosophy is the length of time one has a pet is not the important thing; it’s are you providing them a nice home for whatever time they have left.
Her sanctuary is now organized  (since 2010) as a nonprofit, but in the beginning, she largely paid for the expenses of a smaller operation out of her own money. It costs $30,000 annually to operate. She truly is a wonder! She works full-time as a counselor at a county center which provides tutoring and mentoring to at-risk youth and manages the sanctuary in her very limited, free time.. Once again, we see how 1 person can truly make a difference. (Emily Smith, “Senior Moments,” All  Animals, September/October 2014, p. 40.)
Upcoming Events

  • October 7, 2014 – Hook Law Center is sponsoring Senior Advocate’s Active Aging Series at Westminster Canterbury, 3100 Shore Drive, Virginia Beach  VA  23451.   HLC Attorney Jessica A. Hayes will provide an overview of Hook Law Center’s Practice Areas at this meeting which begins at 10:00 am. To RSVP, please call Westminster Canterbury at 757-645-6364. RSVP responses will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis. For a list of speakers, please click here.  Each session includes a complimentary lunch. We look forward to seeing you there!
  • October 10, 2014 –  Andrew Hook will speak on Elder Law to the Portsmouth Task Force at Churchland House in Portsmouth, VA.
  • October 12, 2014 – Hook Law Center’s Walk Team will participate in the Walk o End Alzheimer’s Walk at Neptune Park in Virginia Beach.  If you would to join our team and walk with us, please call 757-399-7506 to find out how.  Registration for the walk begins at 8:30 a.m. and the walk starts at 10 a.m.
  • October 16 – 17, 2014 –  Andrew Hook and Shannon Laymon-Pecoraro will be attending the 2014 Special Needs Alliance Conference in St. Petersburg, FL.
  • October 23, 2014 – Andrew Hook will speak on The Top Issues Every Practitioner Needs to Know How to Spot Related to Elder Law to the Virginia Beach Bar Association.
  • October 29, 2014 – Hook Law Center will be represented at the Virginia Beach 2014 Senior Showcase at the Princess Anne Recreation Center, 1400 Nimmo Parkway, Virginia Beach, VA 23456 from 9:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.  This event is free and open to the public.

Special Announcement 

The Hook Law Center, a leader in the field of Elder Law, serving Hampton Roads, is seeking an experienced Elder Law attorney. The firm has an AV Martindale rating, offices in both Virginia Beach and Suffolk, and attorneys who have held leadership positions in the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, the Special Needs Alliance, and the Virginia Bar Association. The ideal candidate will have expertise in public benefits, guardianship, special needs planning, estate planning, taxation, and trust & estate administration. The candidate must also have excellent writing, research, and communication skills.  Our goal is to attract an attorney who will work collaboratively with our experienced staff, provide  consistent, high-quality client service, strive to improve his or her skills and seek relevant certifications, and is motivated to continue the success of our firm. Membership in the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys or certification in Elder Law or Financial Planning is desirable. Please send resume and references to Sandra Buhr, Office Administrator, at sbuhr@hooklawcenter.com.

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This report is not intended as a substitute for legal counsel. While every precaution has been taken to make this report accurate, Hook Law Center assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions, or for damages resulting from the use of the information in this report.