Monday, May 23, 2016

Thus sayeth the Librarian

Listen to the prophet's voice
Have you ever read the Bible? Whether you have or have not, let me clue you into a pertinent fact. When the text says, "Thus sayeth [the prophet] or [the Lord]," that's the time you should pay attention.  Like the prophets of old, your modern law Librarians are as close to a prophet as most people are ever to come across.  Dang, but everything we say is scripture and should be taken down verbatim!

For example, the other day an oldish woman came in the library.  Seems she was looking to create an estate planning packet including a pour over will, a living trust and powers of attorney (financial and health care).  For the record, while most all law libraries have resources related to estate planning, not all resources are created the same and some are better than others.

Anyway, I started with California Wills & Trusts Forms (Lexis). She says it's too complex.  I then show her Drafting California Revocable Trusts (CEB), California Will Drafting (CEB) and California Powers of Attorney and Health Care Directives (CEB).  

Still, too complex, says she.  Throwing a Hail Mary, I led her over to Am Jr Pleading and Practice Forms Annotated (Thomson Reuters).  Says she, "don't you have anything that is easier?!"  Yes, there is one or two titles that will get you to first base, says I, but I would not suggest using it as your only resource. Demanding that I show it to her, I hand her Living Wills & Powers of Attorney for California and Quick & Legal Will Book (both by Nolo Press).

Sadly, she was happy with that and declared that she had everything she needed and would supplement her trust with what she could find on the Internet.  With a heavy heart, I muttered, "Thus sayeth the Librarian,....you really, really don't want to do that"  but off she went happy with her second string resources.

Months later, children of the woman came in looking to see what they could do because (their words) the probate judge had just struck down the woman's trust and invalidated her "living" will sending her entire estate through probate.  Oops.  I don't like saying I told you so, but....

I guess the moral to this story is (if moral there be), if your local county law Librarian thinks it important to tell/show you something, you'd best heed their warning lest you become an example of what others should not be doing.  

Thus sayeth the Librarian.