Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Book Review: Alive and Kicking

Today I am posting a review that I wrote for the Wisconsin Lawyer Magazine in December 2008 of the book Alive and Kicking: Legal Advice for Boomers by Kenney F. Hegland and Robert B. Fleming. Enjoy.

Short, concise chapters on a wide variety of issues, Alive and Kicking is a useful book for any lawyer who works with today’s Boomers. Chapters address issues ranging from estate planning to identity theft to Social Security as well as divorce and remarriage. Written for the Boomer, as opposed to attorneys, the book offers straightforward insight into the issues faced as people age.

The primary strength of the book is its ability to serve as a quick and handy reference guide to the common issues older clients might raise in the course of representation. While it is not wise to practice outside of your given emphasis, estate planning for example, no lawyer wants to answer a client’s inquiry with “I have no idea”. Alive and Kicking can serve as a quick reference to address a client’s question while you develop a more detailed referral if needed.

As with many books related to these timely topics, the book is limited in that each State may have a different procedure – the book is not Wisconsin specific. Moreover, the book will be dated because it does not take into account increasing levels and limits. For example, when addressing the exempt gifts for the gift tax it references $10,000 when the current limit is $12,000 [note the current limit in 2011 in $13,000].

However, those limitations come with most print media these days, and I would recommend the book to anyone whose practice involves serving the Boomer population. At just over 250 pages, it is a quick and often humorous read. One piece of new information I gained was related to the 1983 Congressional action to prohibit federally assisted housing, designated for the elderly or disabled, from discriminating against owners of cats, dogs, and fish.

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