by Tina Seymour Demoran, Esquire

After graduating from high school, I left for college with a book of handwritten recipes that I’d compiled from years of baking and cooking with my mama, “Mama Eu,” Eunice Seymour.

Many Coast residents know Mama Eu, as she had a successful home-based catering business for well over 30 years, catering weddings and parties for many families. But what Mama Eu is really known for is her holiday baking. For decades, up until a few years ago, when Mama Eu “retired and let the kids handle it,” on Christmas night, BJ and Eunice Seymour’s home would be filled with family and friends, plates loaded down with turkey, ham, smoked dear meat, casseroles and vegetables too numerous to list, and freshly baked light bread.

While the food was plentiful, everyone had one goal in mind: leave room for dessert.

A separate table filled with pies, cakes, lady fingers, pralines, and divinity surrounded a large platter that was overflowing with pusharatas.

Many family members on the Coast have a recipe for pusharatas….but there is something special about Mama Eu’s recipe.

However, in that book I brought with me to college, there was no recipe for my mom’s pusharatas.

She wouldn’t share it.

The story goes that Mama Eu shared her special recipe for pusharatas with a friend in the early 70’s, with strict instructions not to share it with anyone else. That friend not only shared it with her family and friends, she also set up a competing business to sell the pusharatas to Mama Eu’s clients during the Holidays.

Needless to say, Mama Eu wasn’t sharing that recipe again.

Maybe a Legacy Approach Would Work Best

Years of begging, pleading, watching over Mama Eu’s shoulder as I made them to try to glean the recipe later, I finally thought of a way to reach her.

I asked her, “When you are gone, who is going to make these for the family, if you don’t share the recipe with at least one of your kids?”

That was the ticket to three hand-filled pages in that small notebook, and the beginning of a Holiday tradition that now spans the State of Mississippi. And, most likely, the seed that would set the stage for me to become a probate and estate planning attorney many years later.

Next week, I and my staff at Seymour Law Firm, PLLC will meet at a coworker’s house to continue the annual tradition we started three years ago: We meet, fry 100 or so dozen pusharatas, box them up…then either deliver them to clients, friends and family members…or throw a big party and invite those same clients, friends and family members to swing by and pick up a few dozen.

Yet, that tradition wouldn’t have even been possible if my Mama Eunice hadn’t released her recipe to me…so that I could ensure her legacy lived on.

Hence, the reason for the title to this week’s article: Pusharatas and Probate.

Today, I closed three probate cases that should have never seen the light of a courtroom.

Two simple hours in my office…or even three…could have prevented the families of the deceased from having to pay me by the hour to represent their loved ones in a court of law, attend several hearings, and finalize hours of paperwork.

All that could have been prevented by an Estate Plan.

Every one of them thought a will was enough to avoid court…to avoid probate…to avoid paying an attorney thousands of dollars to represent an estate.

It didn’t.

So here’s my legal column for the week, in a nutshell.

Hire an experienced estate planning attorney to get your affairs in order…now.

No one is guaranteed tomorrow.

A will is not enough.

Have a great weekend, please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or comments at (228)224-6781 or