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Why won’t the attorney talk with me?

By Attorney Truman Scarborough

When friends are more than willing to share their opinions, it may appear strange if an attorney refuses to talk about a legal problem. However, attorneys can be ethically or legally prohibited from discussing certain matters. These restrictions include:

1] Competent representation: Since it is impossible for an attorney to be skilled in all areas of the law, the Florida Bar’s Rules of Professional Conduct require that an attorney limit his/her advice to those matters where he is competent. A referral probably can be made to another attorney who is more knowledgeable.

2] Unauthorized Practice: The law can be significantly different from state to state, and it can’t be assumed that an attorney understands the laws in another state. Therefore, an attorney is prohibited from practicing in another state until he/she is officially admitted to practice in that state. If an attorney attempts to practice in a state where he/she is not a member of the bar, he/she could be subject to criminal penalties for the “unauthorized practice of law”.

3] Confidentiality / Attorney Client Privilege: In order to fully and frankly communicate with the attorney, a client needs to know the attorney will not reveal information. Under the Florida Bar’s Rules of Professional Conduct, all information relating to the representation is confidential (with few exceptions) and cannot be shared with anyone else without the client’s permission. Information is also protected as Attorney–Client Privilege under Florida’s Evidence Code from attempts to compel the attorney to divulge it in legal proceedings. Even after a client has passed away, the attorney has a continuing obligation to protect this information.

4] Conflict of interest: A lawyer cannot represent a client where the representation would adversely affect another client’s interest. For example, an attorney normally assists the husband and wife as a couple in developing an estate plan. But if a conflict arises between the spouses, the attorney cannot assist both of them. In settling a trust or probate estate, the attorney must communicate with the beneficiaries, providing them copies of the inventory, accounting, etc. Nevertheless, the attorney represents the personal representative (executor) or the successor trustee, not the beneficiary. If a conflict arises, the beneficiary must seek legal advice from a different attorney.

5] Communication with a person who has an attorney: The Rules of Professional Conduct prohibit an attorney from communicating with a person who is represented by an attorney without the other attorney’s consent. This rule applies even if the represented person initiates or consents to the communication. Furthermore, the attorney may not make a prohibited communication through a third person.

6] Undue Influence: The law recognizes that a beneficiary who has an opportunity to discuss an estate plan with the drafting attorney has an unfair advantage over other beneficiaries. If this beneficiary receives a substantially larger inheritance, other beneficiaries can have the will or trust voided by the court. If the client needs to have someone else involved to help formulate the estate plan, it also raises a question about the client’s mental capacity.

On the other hand with a normal attorney client relationship, the Rules of Professional Conduct require an attorney to promptly communicate with the client and explain a matter to the extent reasonably necessary to permit the client to make informed decisions.


For further information on estate planning, you may be interested in Attorney Truman Scarborough’s Booklet on Estate Planning in Florida. It is available without charge or obligation by calling (321) 267 – 4770. His office is located at 239 Harrison Street, Titusville, Florida.





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Housing Vouchers for Homeless Vets

by Freddy Groves


Nine thousand veterans are going to receive vouchers for permanent



A joint effort between Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Department

of Veterans Affairs will spend $60 million at public-housing agencies

across the country to provide Section 8 housing for veterans.


Called HUD-VASH, for HUD Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing, the program

not only provides most of the cost of rentals, but also case management

and services from nearby VA medical centers. Many homeless veterans suffer

from chronic disabling conditions, such as mental health or substance

abuse disorders, or physical disabilities. Veterans who are accepted into

the program are expected to participate in case management, treatment

recommendations and assistance for recovery.


Some specifics:

–Veterans in the program won’t pay any more than 30 percent of their

income for rent.

–Both single veterans and those with families are eligible for housing.

–Veterans must be able to complete daily living activities and live

independently in the community, with the support services and case



The VA is making headway in tackling homelessness, with the goal of

putting an end to veteran homelessness by 2015. Statistics show a 17

percent decline since 2009. So far, it’s put 42,557 formerly homeless

veterans into housing through the VASH program. More funds will be

announced this summer.


If you’re a homeless veteran, or know of one, find out if you qualify for

the housing assistance program by contacting the VA’s National Call Center

for Homeless Veterans at 1-877-4AID-VET (1-877-424-3838). You might be

referred to the point person for the homeless program at the closest VA



If you’re also unemployed, ask about the Homeless Veteran Supported

Employment Program for job development and vocational assistance.


Freddy Groves regrets that he cannot personally answer reader questions,

but will incorporate them into his column whenever possible. Send email to


(c) 2013 King Features Synd., Inc.

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Merrifield’s General Store – aka – “COMPLEX 21”

Faythe Merrifield

It’s nice to reminisce of the old days. During the early space years we lived out in the Titusville Beach area where we had a business just north of Launch Complex 37 and east of present Complexes 40 and 41. We were located south of Titusville Beach, next to the so-called “Astronaut’s Beach House”, as it was then known in early 60’s.

So many memories from that era, carefree life for wife and children, witnessing the many manned space flights, plus many more “unmanned”, which landed in the Mosquito Lagoon, the Banana River, and even in trailer parks! Oh yes, we were still experimenting back then. It seemed so surreal standing watching shots which made the earth shudder, we were right there, it was the beginning of the USA Space Age! And we feel fortunate to think we have these memories and all the excitement still makes us teary eyed. We loved it out there on the beach.

My hubby, Hal along with his parents, Harold and Helen Merrifield ran a unique watering hole called “Merrifield’s General Store” or, as early Cape workers dubbed it, “COMPLEX 21”.

It was visited by Cape workers, visitors to the beautiful beach, fisherman, foreign diplomats and dignitaries, columnists, photographers, and of course, the locals from “inland”. This soon became a place for everyone to escape for a few hours and unwind while enjoying the very best hot dogs on the east coast of Florida. They were made by a German sausage maker, in Orlando. Never have you tasted one better!

Also, to be purchased at the store were sandwiches made fresh daily by Mom and Pop Merrifield, cold drinks, beer, handkerchiefs, ties, gloves for iron workers, chewin’ tobaccy, bait and ice. Oh yeah, we even offered Texaco and Peek gas at our pumps! Store hours were unforgiving – 5:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., to accommodate all space center employees.

Regretfully, Complex 21 closed in September 1962. Due to NASA’s expansion, it was time move on. Sadly, our livelihood and life out there on the beach soon became a thing of the past.

In 1962, we hired a house mover to relocate our tiny little concrete block, beach home, with two bedrooms and one bath, over to our recently purchased property in Indian River City, as it was called back then. We were perhaps the second home relocated to this area, many more followed. Of course, as our family grew to four children, two dogs, and some bantam hens, so did our home which we added on to, now a split level, four bedroom, two bath home with a swimming pool and lots of well landscaped yard.

We love this area and our neighbors and hope to stay here for many more years, God willing!

Article provided courtesy of the Central Brevard Mosquito Beaters,  2008 Memory Book, available at the Florida Historical Library, 435 Brevard Av., Cocoa Village.

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