The Happy Bottom Family Trust
Meet Gladys Kaminski, a real sparkler! My daughter, attorney Diana Law, insisted that I come into the conference room to meet Gladys. When Gladys enters a room, merriment walks in with her. We exchanged laugh-filled greetings, and then I asked Gladys why she wanted us to do her estate protection planning. She quickly responded, “I don’t want to lose everything to long-term care expenses. Even though I don’t have a lot, I want to make sure that my kids and grandkids can enjoy at least a part of it.” She was working with Diana to prepare an Estate and Longevity Plan. Her goal is to never be out of money or quality health care options as long as she lives. One of the ways that we help clients achieve their goals is the use of very carefully designed trusts. Most trusts take the name of the trustmaker—so ordinarily Gladys would have named her trust the “Gladys Kaminski Trust”—but she wanted to have it her way! She wanted to call her new asset protection trust “The Happy Bottom Family Trust.” Unusual, but legally a trust maker can choose any non-deceptive name for a trust. I asked Gladys why she wanted a “Happy Bottom Trust.” Giving me a wink, Gladys flashed a big smile and began her story. “In 1941 I graduated from eighth grade. I worked as a salesgirl at the dime store at 31st Street and Halstead in Chicago. My boss, Mr. Fox, loved to tease me. One day he came over to me and said loudly, “Gladaaas! Gladaaaas! Did you know your name translates as Happy Bottom?” I laughed and laughed. And I’ve been telling that story all my life. Nobody remembers me when just I tell them my name is Gladys. But everyone remembers me when I tell my name is Gladys and that means Happy Bottom.” Now both Diana and I were laughing with her, and we agreed that The Happy Bottom Family Trust now made sense to us. This trust is designed to protect a portion of her assets in the event she ever suffers unending long-term care costs. Gladys is a model of excellent aging. Despite knee replacements in 2001 and 2006, she plays golf with “the girlfriends” every week. They also take an annual golfing trip to Florida or Arizona. I inquired, “Don’t you girls go to Vegas?” She looked up at me with a conspiratorial expression and said, “Oh yes! I need to go to Vegas every year to the bingo convention. I’m in charge of our parish bingo operation. I’ve done that for the last 20 years.” Gladys also serves as treasurer for numerous senior clubs and church organizations. It’s obvious to everyone that this gal is very confident handling her own money and safeguarding other people’s money, too. As her estate planning and elder law attorneys, we are honored that Gladys chose us to serve as her trusted guides as she travels the elder care journey.