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f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

May 5, 2005

probate proves hard to find online

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 4:08 pm

Thanks to HALT, I’ve got a great suggestion for estate lawyers who want a

better Law Day in 2006: help put together a probate court website as good as

the one available from the Vermont Probate Courts.  Or, make one even better.


HALT recently performed a survey of online probate resounces available from each

State.  (HALT eJournal, “States Provide Few Probate Resources Online,” by Todd

Chatman, May 5, 2005, free subscription available in the right SideBar).  The results

show most states provide no useful online information about probate (the legal

process by which you prove a will is valid and settle an estate).  


someone else’s affair
you think…
lanterns for the dead




HALT started the survey with the following question:  “If you need to probate an estate

in any U.S. state, can you find resources online to help you complete the process without

a lawyer?”   Here are some of the findings:

tiny check “[A] dozen states (Hawaii, Idaho, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska,

Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee,

and West Virginia) offer no information whatsoever, while the vast majority

offer little more than a basic definition of probate, leaving consumers with

little choice but to hire an attorney and pay expensive legal fees for what is

usually a simple and routine procedure.”


tiny check Vermont scored highest because “consumers can find a wealth of information

about probate, including a step-by-step guide to administering and settling an

estate, links to local probate courts, links to necessary forms and instructions

for using them, and a complete explanation of Vermont’s special rules for

expedited small estate administration.”


tiny check “[T]hree other states (Maryland, New Hampshire, Connecticut) and the

District of Columbia also provide useful information.”


The eJournal article ends with an important message:  “Probate is not the complex,

intimidating process many people believe it to be. For years HALT has encouraged

states to simplify their probate process- especially for small estate administration.

Simplifying procedures and providing assistance to nonlawyers would make probate

more ‘user-friendly’ and help more people avoid unnecessary legal costs. We applaud

Vermont’s steps in this direction and urge all states to follow its lead.”  Amen!

  • Find more info on Estate Planning and Probate from HALT here.



deutzia blossoms–
the children play


“Get ready, get ready
for death!”
cherry blossoms



timing his death
extremely well…
the Buddha



        translated by David G. Lanoue


snapshots with Lyles & Hall

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 2:06 pm


I’ve been enjoying the Snaphsots Haiku Journal (from Liverpool,

England) and want to share a sampling by two of our favorite

Honored Guests:



backstroke . . .

the undersides

of alder leaves





bronze sundial

the junco cocks his head

from V to VII





sunlit shallows

a frog burrows deeper

into the mud




“backstroke . . .”  Snapshots 9

“bronze sundial” & “sunlit shallows” Snapshots 10


hawk flight


history lesson

slowly the caged eagle

turns our way







spin between us . . .

a lost thought






a new term

clear water tumbles

over stones


“a new term” & “mayflies” – Snapshots 9

“history lesson” – Snapshots 10




from dagosan                                               

the guys show

snapshots of their kids —

the bachelor’s tight smile



[May 5, 2005]



 pinataG  05-05-05: Be nice to your favorite pinata today.  Viva! Cinco de Mayo. 


tiny check There was an interesting guest post yesterday at Legal Ethics Forum by

Prof. Larry Fischer (Southwestern U. Law School) on “The Difficulties

of Teaching Legal Ethics.”  Fischer asks why the course can’t get no respect.

The post and most of the comments are thoughtful   (via The Fedster)

  • The discussion at LEF makes me wonder yet again about the 

    meaning of responses given in the massive and costly new “Law

    School Survey of Student Engagement,” which is described in the 

    NYLJ article, “New Survey Tackles Complex Questions About

    Law Schools,” May 2, 2005.  For example: NYLJ says that a “positive

    result” of the law student survey is the finding that “76 percent were

    satisfied with their schools’ emphasis on law practice ethics.” Another

    so-called positive result: “82 percent were encouraged to learn by

    applying classroom theory to practical problems.”   Please, don’t

    try this at home, boys and girls!

hawk flight flip

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