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John B. Whalen, Jr., J.D., LL.M.
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I enjoy writing, teaching, and blogging. However, I do tend to share some of my blog posts on some of the social media sites (i.,e., Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, etc.), I do not share all of them on those sites. Further, and as many of my clients, friends, and family (who do not engage in social media), email me and text me questions regarding my area of law, the answers and guidance that they may be seeking are often contained in my blog.

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Last Wills – Freddie Mercury

In his Last Will, Freddie Mercury left the vast majority of his wealth, including his home and recording royalties, to Mary Austin, and the remainder to his parents and sister.

Mary Austin continues to live at Mercury’s home, Garden Lodge, Kensington, with her family.

Last Wills – Freddie Mercury – Bio

Freddie Mercury (Farrokh Bulsara)
Born September 5, 1946 – Died November 24, 1991
British/Asian Musician, Singer, Songwriter, Lead Vocalist of Queen.

Last Wills – Freddie Mercury – Mary Austin

In the early 1970s Mercury had a long-term relationship with Mary Austin, whom he had met through guitarist Brian May. He lived with Austin for several years in West Kensington.

By the mid-1970s, however, the singer had begun an affair with a male American record executive at Elektra Records, which ultimately resulted in the end of his relationship with Austin.

Mercury and Austin nevertheless remained close friends through the years, with Mercury often referring to her as his only true friend.

In a 1985 interview, Mercury said of Austin, “All my lovers asked me why they couldn’t replace Mary [Austin], but it’s simply impossible. The only friend I’ve got is Mary and I don’t want anybody else. To me, she was my common-law wife. To me, it was a marriage. We believe in each other, that’s enough for me.”

Last Wills – Freddie Mercury – “Love of my Life”

Freddie Mercury also wrote several songs about Mary Austin, the most notable of which is “Love of My Life”.

Introduced during the “News of the World” Tour in 1977, “Love of My Life” was a concert favorite.

Grave Sites – Unknown Soldier

“Here Rests In Honored Glory An American Soldier Known But To God”

Grave Sites – Unknown Soldier

The Tomb Of The Unknown Soldier
July 2, 1937 – Present
Arlington National Cemetery

Ps – Grave Sites – Unknown Soldier – Ritual

Known as “Walking The Mat,” there is a meticulous ritual the guard follows when watching over the graves:

The soldier walks 21 steps across the Tomb. This alludes to the 21-gun salute, which is the highest honor given to any military or foreign dignitary in America. His weapon is always on the shoulder opposite the Tomb (i.e., on the side of the gallery watching the ritual).

On the 21st step, the soldier turns and faces the Tomb for 21 seconds.

The soldier then turns to face the other way across the Tomb and changes his weapon to the outside shoulder.

After 21 seconds, the first step is repeated.

This is repeated until the soldier is relieved of duty at the Changing of the Guard.

Ps – Grave Sites – Unknown Soldier – Dedication

The Tomb Guards, a special platoon within the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) work on a team rotation of 24 hours on, 24 hours off, for five days, taking the following four days off.

A guard takes an average of six hours to prepare his uniform – heavy wool, regardless of the time of year – for the next day’s work.

In addition to preparing the uniform, guards also complete physical training, Tomb Guard training, cut their hair before the next work day, and shave twice per day.

Tomb Guards are required to memorize 16 pages of information about Arlington National Cemetery and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, including the locations of nearly 300 graves and who is buried in each one.

The Tomb of the Unknowns has been guarded continuously, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, since July 2, 1937.

Inclement weather does not cause the watch to cease.

Pa Estate Planning Review

Misinformation, Misunderstandings, and Mistakes

The best gift you can give your loved ones is to have your Estate Planning complete.

Unfortunately, to a great extent, misinformation about critical terms such as inheritance tax, estate tax, probate, avoiding probate, simple will, living will, and living trust, tends to lead to misunderstandings of estate planning.

These misunderstandings, in turn, tend to lead to mistakes in estate planning.

These mistakes, again, in turn, tend to lead to unintended results after one’s death.

In an effort to eliminate such misinformation, misunderstandings, and mistakes, this article will hopefully serve as a review – in very
simple terms – of the basic, core issues of estate planning and its basic documents.

• • •

This article, which I published in the The Pennsylvania Law Weekly in the Spring of 2009 (with a few minor changes) is still relevant today. You can also review this article in the series of posts that have been – and will be – published in this blog.

Pa Estate Law – 1 – Overview
Pa Estate Law – 2 – Planning
Pa Estate Law – 3 – Taxes
Pa Estate Law – 4 – Fiduciaries
Pa Estate Law – 5 – Powers
Pa Estate Law – 6 – Traits
Pa Estate Law – 7 – Documents
Pa Estate Law – 8 – Pointers

• • •

What is Pa Probate?

Pa Probate

The Pa Probate process, itself, is a very simple process.

However, it is merely the beginning of the Pa Estate Administration (also known as the Pa Estate Settlement) process, which involves settling a decedent’s affairs, and can (and does) involve many, many other steps, depending on many, many other things.

Pa Probate Misunderstandings

The most common misconception that surrounds a Pa Last Will is the process called “Probate” and the seemingly universal theme that it should be avoided at all costs. Again, and virtually to the contrary, the word “Probate” is merely based on the Latin verb that means “to prove.” Nothing more!

Although some states do have onerous Probate procedures (where “avoiding probate” may be a prudent strategy), Pennsylvania is not one of those states, In fact, Pennsylvania is very “Probate-Friendly.”

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John B Whalen Jr Esq