April 12, 2011 § Leave a comment

Examining an accounting in a probate matter such as an estate, guardiandhip or conservatorship can be a mind-numbing task:  bank statement, bank statement, cancelled checks, bank statement, bank statement, cancelled check, bank statement, cancelled checks, receipt, receipt, receipt, bank statement, and on and on.

My day was considerably brightened recently as I pored over an annual account in a conservatorship:  bank statement, cancelled checks, bank statement, receipts, cancelled checks, bank statement, barbecue shrimp recipe, bank statement, receipts.

Wait a minute … backspace … barbecue shrimp recipe?  In an accounting?  I never heard of such a thing.

My first reaction was that perhaps this seasoned lawyer had slipped it in there just to see whether I really read all that stuff (he should know better).  Then it occurred to me that maybe he was trying to document the ward’s standard of living (but that might not be a good idea because the ward has since died, and this is after all a pretty artery-clogging recipe).  Or maybe it was intended to be an inventory of the ward’s kitchen assets?  I eagerly anticipated my meeting with counsel for an explanation.

When I met with the attorney, though, he disclaimed any idea how the recipe might have gotten into his court file.  He professed to be as bumfuzzled about it as I was.  Now, faced with such a mystery, lawyers generally blame their secretaries, but not this lawyer.  He took the high road and blamed it on one of the deputy clerks.  When the deputy clerk was confronted, however, she pointed the blame at the lawyer’s secretary, so the customary cycle of legal blame came around full circle to where it belongs.

But I was not looking to place blame.  Not at all.  I wanted instead to commend the perpetrator for adding some spice to what can be a mundane, tedious task.  Alas, however, the identity of that heroic person shall apparently remain a secret.

Now, I know what you are wondering.  You are wondering what exactly was this recipe that stirred up so much attention.  Well, here it is, verbatim, from the court file …

BBQ Shrimp

2      Sticks melted butter

1/2      Cup Lea & Perrin’s

1      Tsp salt

1      Tsp black pepper

1/2      Tsp cayenne pepper

2      Tsp garlic puree

1      Tsp thyme

2      Tsp rosemary

1/2      Tsp celery salt

1      Tsp olive oil

Mix and cook, not boil, let cool.

Put shrimp [quantity not provided] in dish w/mix, ref. over night, cook at 350, stir every 4 to 5 min and turn shrimp when 1/2 way done, taste after 20 min.  cook about 30.

It occurs to me that if every lawyer would file a recipe with annual and final accounts, we could at length compile a cook book, perhaps with a catchy title like Cooking from the Court Files, or Entertaining Intestacy, or Recipes De Bonis Non.  We could organize it so that conservatorship accounts would be accompanied by seafood recipes, guardianships would have entrees and appetizers, intestate estates would have meat dishes, testate estates would have breads and breakfast recipes, and trusts — of course — would include desserts.  I think I’ll see if Judge Mason will consider a local rule to that effect.  Or instead, maybe we can implement this idea across the state, sell the books, and fund a judicial pay raise.  Winner, winner, chicken dinner.


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You are currently reading THYME FOR LEA & PERRIN TO FILE AN ACCOUNTING FOR ROSEMARY at The Better Chancery Practice Blog.


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