Happy to Help: Student Elder Law Advocate Erica Munz

Second-year law student Erica Munz (née Murburg) came to Stetson University with a specific goal in mind: to prepare people for the inevitable by creating and finalizing their estate plans.

Erica Munz

Erica Munz.

“People can either have a say in the matter, or they can roll over and just let chaos and confusion happen to them and their loved ones when they become ill or pass on,” said Erica.

Six years ago, tragedy struck when Erica’s brother Norman Michael Murburg (Ehren) died suddenly during a Green Beret land-navigation training exercise. A young man and candidate for Special Forces, Ehren had not prepared for an untimely death. Consequently, the still-grieving Murburg family became entangled in the loose ends of a difficult, un-planned, and unnecessary intestate probate estate.

“I would like to save other people from going through or putting their family through what my family and I experienced,” said Erica, who said she came to Stetson Law to learn everything she could about estate planning.

Erica’s background includes working as a trial clerk for the 6th Judicial Circuit Court of Florida, and as a legal assistant at her father’s disability law firm. During her studies at Stetson, Erica became fascinated with the field of elder law, which encompasses estate and family law issues. She began volunteering with a student-run art program called Maturity in the Masterpiece, providing monthly art therapy to the residents of a local retirement and rehabilitation facility.

“I learn best by doing,” said Erica, who volunteers by painting and spending time with residents at the Boca Ciega Center in Gulfport. “I learned that I love helping and working with the elderly,” said Erica, who plans to work in the areas of elder law, estate planning and probate when she graduates from Stetson in 2016.

(L-R): Erica and Ehren celebrate.

(L-R): Erica and Ehren celebrate.

Erica is an Elder Law Concentration Certificate candidate at Stetson. She joined Stetson’s Journal of International Aging, Law & Policy as a student editor, is a student member of the Thomas E. Penick, Jr. Elder Law American Inn of Court, and this summer she served as a judicial intern with the 13th Judicial Circuit Court in a Stetson elder law internship focusing on guardianships. Most recently, Erica was elected president of the Stetson Law student organization, the Elder Law Society.

The Dade City, Florida, native credits much of her desire to help others to her family. Her brother’s tragedy inspired her to be an advocate for people preparing for the inevitable.

Describing her passion for advocacy work, Erica explained, “I am passionate about practicing law because I am passionate about helping people. Helping other people makes me happy.”

(L-R): Erica Munz and brother Ehren.

(L-R): Erica Munz and brother Ehren.

Erica said she believes that, “It doesn’t matter what your age is, if you have someone or something important you would be leaving behind, you owe it to yourself and your loved ones to plan for a world without you in it. No one likes to confront his or her mortality, but it is such an important and natural part of life. Death is a reality we all face. When you appreciate how precious life is, it really gives you perspective.”