United States: The Quiet Power Of Julie Frey

Julie Frey was a shy 9-year-old when her father, prominent Orlando attorney and former Navy aviator Lou Frey Jr., ran for Congress.

Getting him to Washington, D.C., was an all-hands-on-deck responsibility for the family.

Frey had the job of greeter at political rallies. At one event, she shook hands with a man entering the room. "So nice to meet you," she said. The man looked her in the eye and replied, "You met me before."

It was a deer-in-the-headlights moment for the introverted fifth-grader.

Recalling the incident from her firm's conference room overlooking Orlando's iconic Lake Eola, Frey says the first lesson she learned was to say "nice to see you," just in case she had met someone but forgotten. The second was: "Be friendly to everybody."

The experience might have been a crushing blow to some bashful kids, but it had the opposite effect on Frey. She credits her dad's political career with developing her people skills.

"I think I'm truly an introvert, but I changed," she says. "I had to."

Today, the veteran estate planning attorney is outgoing but still softspoken, able to talk with anyone about anything, including their most closely guarded family and financial secrets. She is known for plain-talking and for putting people at ease as she walks them through the planning process.

"Really, estate practice is a people practice," says Frey. "I can't tell you how many clients I've had who say, 'Ah! I finally understand what it is I'm signing. I've done this before, but no one's ever explained it; they talk gobbledygook, and I'm embarrassed to ask a question.'"

She didn't start out in estate law. In the mid-'80s, when Frey was a young attorney in Washington, D.C., where her dad was practicing law, she and a group of colleagues once attended a weeklong conference on corporate securities law at the University of Wisconsin.

A conference on estate law was underway at the same time.

"So I'm with all these securities people saying, 'Look at all those boring estate planning people!' Three years later, I was in the boring estate planning group."

Turned out it wasn't boring for her.

Frey moved back to her hometown of Orlando in 1987 and joined Lowndes, Drosdick, Doster, Kantor and Reed, where she is now a partner. John Lowndes thought she would be a perfect fit for estate law, and that's where she found her passion. She now chairs her firm's private wealth services group, which she grew from basically herself into a group of a dozen members.

She provides strategies for high-networth clients, including pro athletes and others who have specific asset-protection needs. She also works with couples in second marriages, domestic partners, and people who have special trust needs or other concerns for their children. Digital asset management—who controls your passwords and social media presence after you're gone—is becoming an increasingly major part of her practice area.

"When an individual passes away, there are not only physical possessions to distribute, but many have significant and substantial digital assets as well," says Frey. "Social media accounts, email messages, digitally stored documents, digital photographs, videos, digital music, domain names, online access to financial and other accounts, and cryptocurrency."

Failure to specify who can access which accounts can end in these digital assets being misused or lost, and can even result in fraud. Frey notes that clients may even want to have certain accounts—such as personal social media—deleted upon their death.

Estate planning isn't just who might control your assets if you become incapacitated. The other big issue, she says, is "when you're gone, what's your legacy? What kind of legacy do you want to leave to your family?"

One thing for sure she has learned about her field: "Whenever there's money involved, things can get interesting.

"People are oftentimes very quiet about what they own. I did a probate and trust administration for the family of a fellow who lived in a mobile home with the kind of furniture you put together by yourself, and he was worth $8 million."

She got involved in helping the family after he died, but because the estate planning had not been done properly in the beginning, the family ended up paying a lot of money to the IRS.

Another case she handled involved a woman who hadn't talked to her son for 30 years and wanted to cut him out of her estate. Frey talked to the firm's litigation attorneys and made sure everything was documented properly so the woman's intent could be carried out. After she died, the estate was settled without litigation.

"Under Florida law," Frey says, "after your child is 18, you don't owe them anything."

It's something she jokes about with her own son Alex, now 27. "I have a lot of charities I like," she teases him, "so you better be good to your mama."

In a similar case involving an ungrateful grandson, the ending was more complicated. The grandparents had paid for his education at a private university, bought him a house and given him a large wedding gift. He never bothered to say thank you or to visit his grandmother after his grandfather died.

So Frey called him up and said, look, your grandmother is getting older and would like to see you. He wasn't interested, so the grandmother cut him out of the estate. After she died, he sued for a share. Not only did he not inherit from his grandmother, he also lost out on a small percentage of a trust he had been expecting from his grandfather.

"Because the litigation brought was baseless," Frey says, "the court awarded us our legal fees from his share of his grandfather's estate. He got zero."

Outside the office, Frey—known as Julie since fourth grade, since there were two Julias in the class and she lost the coin toss—loves to stay active playing tennis and golf. In 2001, she ran the Paris Marathon. She also recently started learning French—just for fun.

When her son was growing up, she was a baseball mom. He went on to play professionally overseas; and she and her husband, David Carter, a former professional tennis player who is now a Winter Park psychologist, would plan their vacations around his team's schedule. Alex is now attending law school in Australia.

Frey's family has a large footprint on Orlando's economic and political arenas. Lou Frey Jr. won his bid to become a Republican congressman; before that, he was a well-known attorney, also working for a time at Lowndes Drosdick.

He went on to found the Lou Frey Institute of Politics and Government at the University of Central Florida. Instrumental in making Orlando the epicenter of the multibillion-dollar simulation industry, the elder Frey was a founder of the National Center for Simulation, also based at UCF.

Frey serves on the board of the Lou Frey Institute, and she has served as president of the Orange County Bar and of the Central Florida Association for Women Lawyers. She is currently on the Florida Bar Board of Governors, where she was just elected to a second term. She's also nurtured her cultural side by serving on the board for Orlando public radio station WMFE. She and Carter also donate to local arts organizations and are promoters of the Atlantic Center for the Arts, a nonprofit artist-residency facility in nearby New Smyrna Beach.

While on the WMFE board, Frey found a kindred spirit in Judy Duda, a member of a prominent Central Florida family and an enthusiastic patron of the arts.

"We just instantly bonded," Duda says. When Duda, now 81, decided to remarry after being widowed for 15 years, she turned to Frey to handle the pre-nup and trust documents.

She needed the help, she explains—she and her husband, Col. Bud Weber, have 35 children and grandchildren between them.

"I feel like she really listened," Duda says. Merging the families of two mature adults with significant assets in 2015 was no simple task. "I felt really comfortable about all of the advice she gave me."

In 2013, Frey helped the station hire a new executive director, LaFontaine Oliver. She helped smooth his way into the community by inviting him to events and introducing him to local movers and shakers.

Her support, Oliver says, "was wonderful for me. It gave me that confidence that I needed as a new leader of the organization."

Frey's people skills are what most impressed him.

He says, "There's a quiet power there," which Frey put to use during what Oliver calls "seismic changes" to the organization, such as buying a second radio station. Frey served a second term as chair, at Oliver's request, during the acquisition of WKSG-FM 89.5, now WMFV, just north of The Villages.

That same quiet power guides her dealings with her wide range of clients. A sense of humor doesn't hurt, either.

"If I can get people laughing about something at our first meeting, that sort of breaks the ice," she says.

After all, wills and estates can be a grim subject. "Most people don't want to think about wills," she says.

"Except for me."

Originally Publish in Super Lawyers

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Related Articles
 
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions