Author Archives: Paul Holl

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Main Liners at the Shore

It’s the last full month of summer and restaurants on the Main Line are hurting. Their regulars are at the shore in seaside towns on barrier islands. Margate, Ventnor, Ocean City, Avalon and Stone Harbor are a few of their favorites, but some pass them all…”On The Way to Cape May”.
From the Coast Guard Station and the Lobster House to Sunset Beach, the drive provides views of enchanting “gingerbread” houses of all colors in the rainbow, a quaint mall area for eating, historical structures everywhere, a wildlife sanctuary and the distinctive lighthouse (a national monument).
If you have never visited Cape May or haven’t for some time, ride down. If you can’t, read about Will and Missy’s drive there while in search of Dr. Manny, the missing Main Line surgeon, in “Will Power” at, Thanks to all who have posted reviews on my Amazon page. PaulCape May beach-1050406_1920

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The Chesapeake and Delaware Canal (C&D)

St_Georges_BridgeA Quaker from Philadelphia first had the idea of digging a canal from the Chesapeake Bay to the Delaware Bay in the mid 1700s. It wasn’t until 1804 that the legislatures of Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland joinly passed legislation permitting its construction. Today it is a thriving passageway for private and cargo vessels, 17 miles long, 450 feet wide and 35 feet deep. Read about Dr. Manny’s adventure on the C&D Canal in “Will Power” – right here.

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The Mighty Chesapeake Bay

Sailors and boaters know the reputation of the unforgiving Chesapeake Bay. Dr. Martin Manning knew also and experienced its merciless rage first hand. “Manny knew that the mighty bay was the largest estuary in North America, lying inland from the Atlantic Ocean with its northern section in Maryland and its southern portion in Virginia. He was also aware that more than one hundred and fifty major rivers and streams flowed into the bay’s drainage system, causing a flushing-like action during heavy rains. This will be your first big test my lovely, old lady.” – “Will Power”, p.104 ( Many seafarers have lost their lives on the Chesapeake. Did our retired heart surgeon survive his ordeal? It’s a good summer mystery for those of you who haven’t yet read, Will Power – Thanks, Paul.

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What’s an MG?

Happy Father’s Day to the dads and thanks to the many who have called or written me about, “Will Power”. Some have asked, “What’s an MG?”. “What does Will’s car look like?”. Will Hoyle, “Super Sleuth”, drives a red MGB similar to that pictured in one of the photos attached. I own an MGTD, in the other attached photo and pictured on the back cover of, “Living Will”. Mine was built during 1949-1950 when the MG Company first began producing left-hand drive cars for it’s American market. For some reason, driving it gets my creative juices moving, so frequently I’ll take along my MAC to record ideas the minute “Shirley” is parked. Most MGs have names. Mine is named after its first owner, Shirley Temple Black. Check them out at

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Legal Topic #4: An “IRA” To Avoid

“The future ain’t what it used to be.” – Yogi Berra


We are all aware of the customary meaning of the abbreviation, “IRA”. It is normally used to refer to an individual retirement account. Most of us have signed and funded one or more of these tax deferred savings accounts on a regular basis throughout our lives. The proceeds from these accounts can serve as an important augmentation to Social Security benefits in our retirement years. But there is an IRA you never want to experience. 

Walter E. Williams, professor of economics, coined the phrase, “Involuntary Redistribution of Assets” (IRA) in his paper, Compassion Versus Reality, in 2007. This takes place when a person is duped out of resources, that a lifetime was spent accumulating, by unethical professionals, disgruntled family members or quarreling heirs.

As most of you have read in, “Living Will”, unscrupulous people can abuse a trusting relationship or misuse legal documents, such as powers of attorney and wills, to divert assets away from the intended heirs or beneficiaries for their benefit. These people can be a trusted friend, a relative, an advisor or even a stranger who gains the confidence of an unsuspecting victim. The older population in the United States is approaching 20% of our total and tends to be the most vulnerable group susceptible to designing people and unethical practices.

The best way to protect your loved ones from this type of “IRA” fraud is to know what influences are in their lives and to constantly warn them about this growing type of fraud that is a multi-billion dollar problem nation wide.

NOTE: To learn more or ask questions comment on this website,, or email 


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Legal Topic #3: How to Keep Your Heirs from Squandering Your Life Savings

“I go to everyone else’s funeral, otherwise they won’t go to mine”. – Yogi Berra


Wether their heirs are minors or adults, few people like to think about their hard earned assets and savings being wasted after they die. Usually, the purpose of giving money to others is to make their lives more secure. Perhaps a child can pay off his or her mortgage. Maybe a grandchild can pay for college or put a downpayment on a first home. Sometimes, a gift of assets can pay for needed medical treatment or even save a life. But, what happens if the heir decides to squander it on casinos or on parties? Is there any way for the giver to guard against this happening?

Yes. We all know that a Last Will and Testament is an important document for determining how and who will administer our estate after death as well as for avoiding fees and taxes. But a Will alone cannot guard against “squandering”. What is needed is a Trust document. 

  •  How is a Trust created? A Trust is created by a special section being added to the Last Will and Testament. This section states that a Trust is being established by naming a trustee, the money or assets that will fund the Trust, and the person or people for whom the Trust is created.
  • Who handles the money that is earmarked for the Trust? The named trustee can be named to invest and distribute the assets of the Trust or a financial institution can be chosen as administrator for the trustee.
  • How does a Trust guard against heirs squandering the money placed in the Trust? The terms of the Trust can restrict how and when the funds are distributed. Where the heirs are likely to be young people, the Trust can state that only the interest earned from the Trust investments shall be distributed annually or monthly. Another provision can set an age at which the principal may be paid to the heir. 

A Trust can be as simple or as detailed as the maker wishes. The ways in which assets can be handled are numerous. Counseling with an expert, who can tailor the terms of the Trust to each family situation is essential.

For more information: or call: 215-527-5635

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Legal Topic#2: How To Prevent Losing Your Money If you Become Ill.

“A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.” – Yogi Berra

Clients ask me what will happen if they, or their parents, become too ill to handle their investments and pay their bills. Should they add the names of relatives or friends to their accounts and hope for the best? Should they give verbal permission to someone else to sign checks? What happens to their money if their illness becomes permanent?

These are legitimate concerns, especially in the midst of an economy where it has become increasingly more difficult to make ends meet.

The answer is to have a properly prepared, duly witnessed and notarized Durable Power of Attorney (POA). “Durable”? What does that mean?

The new changes in Pennsylvania law, as in many other states, encourage such powers to be given in such a way that they do not expire in a given period of time or after a specified illness. The POA remains in effect until it is revoked by the person granting it. This enables the holder of the POA to continue helping pay bills for medical expenses, utilities, taxes, and other essential services.

Now, by law, there is a required notice that must be given to the grantor of the POA explaining, in specific terms, the powers that are being given to the person chosen to  serve as an agent. The POA document itself is lengthy and contains many specifics that have evolved from generations of litigation. In addition, the recipient must sign a notarized oath acknowledging receipt of their responsibilities and duties.

Signed copies of this document are given to financial institutions, advisors, and health providers as the sole legal authority for anyone to act on the grantor’s behalf. I like to think of it as the ultimate, protection document for my client’s money.

For more information, please submit questions and comments to the “comment” page above or email, (215-527-5635).

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Legal Topic #1: Living Like a Vegetable

As the famous Yogi Berra once said, “I don’t remember leaving so I guess we didn’t go.”

 My clients constantly express concern about what will happen to their, or their parents’, health care, finances and life savings should they become incompetent. Frequently, I hear them say, “I’m not afraid of dying as much as I am fearful of living like a vegetable during my old age.”

How can you protect yourself and your loved ones from having to be in such a permanent state of mental disablility? The answer is to have a properly drafted, executed and witnessed Living Will.

Keeping in mind that most states have specific laws governing the content of Living Wills, here are some frequently asked questions and their answers:

* How does a Living Will work? It is the written expression of a person’s desired treatment, or refusal of treatment, in the event that he or she should become terminally ill and lacking the mental capacity to make medical treatment decisions. Just as a Last Will and Testament names an executor to carry our wishes after death, the Living Will names a surrogate to make medical decisions in cooperation with the health care entity. This may include deciding to remove life sustaining applications that do nothing but prolong the life of a dying person and administering only medication for the purpose of eliminating pain.

* Can’t I just tell my spouse, child or physician what to do? Most physicians are sworn to take all measures to keep the patient alive. Furthermore, to guard against the patient being exploited by others for personal gain, such wishes must be in writing and follow a prescribed format.

* What treatment options may I demand or reject? All, none, or a combination of treatment options. For example, a person may reject all forms of life sustaining treatment except those that prevent pain and suffering during the dying process.

* How do I proceed? Consult an attorney who specializes in this area of the law. it is best to seek out one who has been recommended by a friend or relative.



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Please vote!

Please vote! In the primary election? Of course, but now I’d like you to comment on this, my new website design by Smart Author Sites. As the famed Yogi Berra once said (during an acceptance of an award at Yankee Stadium), “Thank you for making this day necessary”. Give me your opinions and suggestions. Thanks. Paul.

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Living Will? Dying Will? Be Careful What You Will For.

The eminent neurologist, Dr. David Boston, looked the attorney general in the eye and said, “I’m dedicated to doing everything within my ability to keep your son alive. I don’t believe in people playing God, even when they do it with their own lives through those ‘living wills’ you lawyers like to force upon us. I refer to them as ‘dying wills’, because that is what more closely represents their actual intent.”

This an excerpt from my new novel, “Living Will” about an unscrupulous, young lawyer who was willing to exploit his firm’s elderly clients by having them sign the “trinity” of documents; a living will, a power of attorney and a last will and testament. Each agreement designates a person other than its signer to make decisions about their care, financial affairs or death, without their knowledge or consent. So ask yourself this question. What advantages are there in being the health care surrogate, holder of the power of attorney or executor of the will of another? Here is a hypothetical, but common, situation:

Bob, in his will, names his spouse as executrix of his estate and his son as the alternate executor.  He is advised to name someone younger than the spouse to be the health care surrogate of his living will and to hold the power of attorney over his non-health related responsibilities. He names his daughter to serve as both. Following his wife’s death, Bob has a stroke and ends up on life support. How does the daughter benefit from keeping Bob on life support indefinitely? How would the son benefit by having it removed?

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