Help Larry Smith Accident Recovery
Larry and his wife, Sally Kobee do not engage in the whole social media scene. Since Sally was using our house as a base of operations while Larry was hospitalized, I did my best to keep everyone updated on Facebook, and through other avenues. Many people sent goid wishes and offers of assistance. At that time, they were of the opinion that insurance would cover the losses. That's what you have it for, after all.
Well now, reality is setting in. Larry is back at home, but will be feeling pretty rough for awhile. The insurance company have advised them what they will pay for the totalled van. It is nowhere near what it will take to replace the van. They will also only pay for a limited amount on a rental vehicle until they get it replaced. We don't know about what they will cover for the loss of books. They are still going through them to determine how many are still saleable.
Many folks have asked how they could help. Larry and Sally have been selling books at conventions for 25 years, and never had anything like this happen. They are fannish family. Now we can all help them. Please give generously. We don't know how much they will end up needing, but GoFundMe asks for a target, so I picked one out of thin air. There will be a full accounting, and any surplus will go to a recognized charity. They have authorized me to set up this page on their behalf. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have. Thank you.
Larry and Sally asked me to try to convey the enormous gratitude they feel to everyone who has come to their aid through this very trying time. I say *try* to convey, because there just are not enough words to adequately express how thankful and humbled they feel. And let me just add my thanks as well. These are some very special people, and my heart swells when I see this wonderful family that we call fandom come together to help them like you have.
They are currently still trying to find a replacement van. The one they had was a 15 passenger model, with a long wheelbase and extra suspension to handle the weight of the books. They have found a couple of possibilities (of course, none local), so they hope to find one soon. Give yourselves a much - deserved pat on the back for making this possible for them. Please share this update on any list or social media that you have available to you.
As for the really important stuff, Larry has had some complications since returning home, which have put him back in the hospital. When I spoke with Sally this afternoon, she was trying to make the decision as to whether she would be able to attend Archon this weekend. Yes, he's that sick.
The good news is that they didn't lose a whole lot of books. There are advantages to packing very tightly. However now, in addition to medical expenses on top of trying to find a new van, they are having to look at serious interruption of income, and all of the issues that brings. Many of you have suggested raising the target, so that's what we are doing.
It is heartwarming and humbling to see how many people have dug deeply into their pockets to help Larry and Sally recover from this very major setback. There just are not enough adequate words to express the gratitude we all feel. I hope that you can find it in your hearts and pockets to help reach the new goal, and please, if it is your way of things, keep them in prayer, light candles, burn incense, or whatever it takes to send them some help from higher powers as well.
Please share this update via any means at your disposal. Thank you.
Second, that very utilitarian grid stored behind the seats. A lot of us use it in our displays. Larry and Sally also use it to create a "safety cage", intended to keep things from flying forward in case of sudden stops. In this case, it probably also kept the roof from collapsing when the van rolled over.
More to follow.
When evaluating the damaged books, they should set aside the ones that are still readable for "scratch and dent" sale. I'm sure some people would be willing to pay a reduced cost for a less-than-pristine book as long as all the pages are still there.
Marcia, you should increase the goal, setting it at least high enough that, with the anticipated insurance payout, Larry and Sally can get a new van. A couple of tax points. Seth's right on the tax liability question, provided (1) GoFundMe passes along the funds as gifts from the original donors (i.e. it's merely acting as our agent and the funds aren't treated as a gift from GoFundMe instead of us), and (2) the gifts are given to Larry and Sally equally (because each of them has a 2015 gift tax exclusion of $14,000, so you need both to get to $28,000). Also, with regard to any excess funds going to charity, remember that it's Larry and Sally who'll be able to claim the charitable deduction on any such funds, not any of us. As far as I'm concerned, whatever we give is theirs to do with as they wish, and they shouldn't feel obliged to give any of it to charity. I'm sure that the cost of the new van isn't the only extra expense they're going to bear as a result of the accident... uninsured damages to inventory and displays; lost income from cons they can't attend while pulling themselves back together; unexpected travel and shipping costs related to the accident; and, of course, uninsured aspects of Larry's medical care.
Insurance companies will try to pay people less then something is worth but what you do is you refuse their first offer and tell them you can't replace it for what you were given and send them print out of vans in as good of shape as yours and mileage and year of what the going price is. I did that and got more out of my ford ranger when it was totaled.
Replacing the van with a new model is a good thing - better gas mileage, new warranty means if something breaks, it's covered. Also, longer life on the vehicle for as much driving as they do. Dealers are at model year change out time and thus, *very* eager to make deals on previous model year inventory so they can have room for new inventory arriving.
On gift taxes, my understanding is the giver is responsible for gift taxes, and only if they give more than the limit ($14,000) to Larry. Larry and Sally aren't subject to gift tax when receiving gifts.
Im glad your having luck. Ive gotten 0 donations so far for a very similiar situation. I wish you the best of luck, and i hope you get all the help you need. Maybe someone whos willing to help you may help me too. Speedy recovery.
There are no income tax issues unless an individual donation exceeds $28,000 ($56,000 if the donor is married).
Marcia says "Thanks for that! We will be consulting our tax lawyer in the morning."