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Posts Tagged ‘Wikipedia’

Fantasia has no boundaries

Posted on May 21st, 2009 by annakjarzab

As I’ve mentioned here before, and in several rambling mind-spill emails to Joanna, I’m at a bit of a crossroads with GR. I’ve hit a bit of a wall, which is not a huge concern to me at the moment. It’s become clear to me that I can’t progress with that book until late June, after I do my research, which is probably why I’m having a hard time. I “finished” my SM synopsis, but I’m not feeling very engaged with it right now, so I’m putting it aside for a while until I decide what I want to do with it (options: write it now while I research GR, or push forward with GR and write SM fourth per the original plan, or write them simultaneously (far from ideal because of how it will make me crazytown this summer)).

Naturally, not only am I bouncing around between GR and SM and working piecemeal on both, but I have several projects in the pipeline that are in the let there be light phase–I have the idea and that’s it. Ain’t no earth or heaven or water or land or creatures great and small–just a little speck of dust like the one the Childlike Empress shows Bastian at the end of The NeverEnding Story* (the movie, obvs; I read the book many, many years ago and was sort of shocked at how much comes after the Nothing devastates Fantasia). (Sidebar: DORK!)

neverending_939

Some of these ideas–one in particular–require a little bit of research. A few weeks ago, my good friend MD (a Marquette University alum) mentioned that there was an article in her alumni magazine about a student who graduated the same year I graduated from Santa Clara (’05) who is becoming a contemplative nun of the Poor Clares order. This rustled up a long-dormant novel that I’d shelved to finish All Unquiet Things back in college and has been bumped back further and further over the years by other books.

I asked MD to bring me the magazine, which she thoughtfully did, and I also ordered Karen Armstrong’s Through the Narrow Gate, which came yesterday. I’d read The Spiral Staircase, back when I considered becoming a nun for like a nanosecond, but could never find a copy of Through the Narrow Gate, which is the “prequel,” if memoirs can be said to have prequels or sequels. I also did some Wikipedia-ing, my favorite research method, and found out something I never knew in my 25+ years as a Catholic:

Although the English word “nun” is often used to describe Christian women who have joined religious orders, strictly speaking, female church members are referred to as nuns only when they live in enclosure, otherwise they are “sisters” or “female clergy.” The distinctions between the Christian terms monk, nun, friar, brother, and sister are sometimes easily blurred because some orders (such as the Dominicans or Augustinians) include nuns (who are enclosed) and sisters (who work in the broader world), as well as friars (who are not enclosed).

The more you know.

So anyway. Something to distract myself with, at least, until I get back from California in late June with armfuls (figurative) of research for GR and actually have to make a decision about how I’m going to proceed with that book.

*Why is The NeverEnding Story‘s title in German on the IMDb page? I get that it’s based on a German book, but the movie is in English.

Research – Testing the limits of Google

Posted on August 8th, 2008 by Anna Jarzab

Recently, as I think I’ve mentioned, J gave the MS of AUT to her boss, D, for a fresh read and D red-flagged something that I probably knew deep down was a problem but never really wanted to confront it. Whoops, Inc.! Well, that’s what wonderful talented agents are for, you see. Anyway, the problem had to do with inheritance law and the fact that minors aren’t legally allowed to enter into binding financial contracts (i.e. create their own wills) or accept a gift under a will. Now, objectively speaking, this is not that big of a deal. Minors inherit money, so I know it can be done, but what I didn’t take into consideration is that, of course, there are limits to how they can access and use that money, and also there is always a legal adult in charge of the assets. So I just had to figure out how the person who willed the money to two minor girls would have done it.

That part, at least, was easy. A quick Google led me straight to an answer: testamentary trusts. (Yes, I am taking legal advice from Wikipedia.) A testamentary trust is a trust that becomes active upon the death of the settler (or testator)–basically, these characters’ grandmother, who is LOADED and kicks the bucket off-stage. The testator can establish an executor or guardian of the trust, which can be different than an actual legal guardian of the minor, which is good because I know the first thing Mams (the settler) would want to do is keep the money as far away from one of the girls’ legal guardians as possible. The way I see it, the guardian of the trusts would then authorize allowances for the girls, and they would get full access to the money when they graduated high school (something I also learned: the age of majority in California for inheriting money is 18 unless the minor is still in high school; then it’s 19, or upon graduation) so that they could use it for college or travel or whatever girls do with millions these days. Perhaps I should ask Paris Hilton?

Anyway, here is what I’m stumbling with: what if, before she reaches the age of majority, one of these girls dies? What happens to the money? Google is less forthcoming with an answer for this one. Now, I can hazard a pretty good guess–that the assets are then distributed according to state laws regarding intestacy, because a minor cannot have a will, as I said before. At least, that’s what happens in Canada. But AUT does not take place in Canada! Anyway, if we say that it’s probably similar in the US (specifically California, because I know that all the states have different laws re: this issue), I’m going to go with that means that her next of kin (her father) would inherit everything. Technically, I can stop there. Her physical possessions would most definitely go to her next of kin, since you can’t even technically own property as a minor, although I wonder how that affects sixteen-year-olds who save up and buy their own cars? Well, Google says that probs you can’t be the sole owner of a car as a minor in most states, so we’ll go with that. Anyway, one of the things that bugs me about just leaving it like that is that if the OTHER girl had died, the guardian of her trust would NOT have wanted her father to inherit the money–and how would he go about preventing that from happening?

My thought is that he probably couldn’t, but this guy is a dotter of “i”s and a crosser of “t”s–if there’s any way he could stop his niece’s father from getting his hands on her money, he would probably do it. And now that I think about it, I wonder if he, as guardian of the trust, would inherit everything anyway, since for her next of kind (her father) to inherit it she would technically have to own it but she can’t own it because she can’t inherit anything technically because she’s a minor. SEE WHAT’S HAPPENING TO ME? What seemed like a fairly insignificant part of the story has grown ten sizes bigger when I found out I was doing it wrong. Shite. I should’ve gone to law school. WHY ARE NONE OF MY FRIENDS LAWYERS?

The good thing is that I emailed J about my potential solution and she was totally on board with it, and pointed out that this solution will give some relationships and personalities added dimension, so it will probably improve the story, which is great. But I think I still may need to visit a university legal clinic when I’m home in California (less than two weeks! I’m so pumped) just to make sure, although it looks like SCU’s law clinic only does consultation on worker’s rights, etc. Anyone have any suggestions of where I could get free answers to a couple (just one or two, swear!) will and trust questions?