Attorney & Mediator
Attorney & Mediator

About the Firm – The Difference

The Traditional Experience

How is my firm different?

First, I should explain what the ““traditional” experience with a lawyer may be like.  If you’ve done any estate planning in the past, this may sound familiar to you.

First, you go in and meet with an attorney who gives a short speech about estate planning which seems very confusing.  The attorney may actually talk over your head using legalese.  You may feel that the lawyer is experienced and knowledgeable so you will nod and answer questions, as if you understood everything that he or she had to say.  You may not feel comfortable asking questions to clear up the confusion.

Since you want to do the right thing for your family you will move forward and have the attorney prepare the documents which you will sign.  You may not have a good idea of what it is that you are signing but feel a sense of relief that it is off of your check list.

You’ll take your originals and put them into the safety deposit box or safe and you will put the fancy binder with instructions in it on a shelf and will never think of it again.

If you signed a trust, you might remember that you are supposed to “fund” it.  You may start on the process, but be confused by what it is that you are supposed to do – so you will put that on the back burner – and eventually – forget to have your accounts re-titled.

As years go by, you may sell your home and purchase a new one, forgetting that you should have placed the title of the home into the name of the trust.

Things will change in your life, as they do in everyone’s, your children will get older making guardianship choices outdated, people will move out of your life or die making your choices for Personal Representative or Successor Trustee obsolete.

Laws may change, but you will not go back to the attorney’s office.

It may take a health care concern or a death for you or your family to realize that the documents that you executed long ago are no longer helpful for your circumstances or find that your assets are not a part of the expensive trust that you have, requiring that a Probate estate must be opened after all.

My Highly Personalized Approach

What sets my firm apart from other Northern Michigan firms is my personal approach with my clients – I understand that legal matters are not a common occurrence – this may be the first time that a client has come to a lawyer’s office.  I take time to carefully listen to each client’s circumstances, questions, concerns and goals.  I listen to your story.

I Listen to Your Concerns – I Speak Plain English.

I believe in the power of communication.  I won’t talk over your head or down to you.  I don’t use legalese.  It is important to me that my clients are comfortable and well informed – that they understand what we are doing.  I also understand that estate planning is difficult: it involves family relationships, it involves talking about disability and death.  It is also technically a complicated and difficult legal area – it requires solid information given in a clear way.

One Size Does Not Fit All

Big is not always best. Smaller, focused and personalized is usually better.

As a “boutique” law practice, I am able to give my clients individualized and very personal attention. This means I am more responsive to your needs. I spend  considerable time with each client – the kind of time and attention you desire and deserve. You are not a number. You won’t be rushed in and out. You will receive attention and care.

There are so many estate planning “tools” available to assist in planning.  Every family is different – with different goals and different needs.  What may be the best plan for one family or individual may not work well for another.  I am not in the business of “selling” you a trust or a will.  I am here to assist you in deciding what will work best for you and your family and help you plan for the future.

I will tailor your estate plan to meet your special circumstances and needs.  I use a highly customized approach – one size does not fit all.

My Firm Will Help You Prepare For Life and Death

My firm is different because I work with families knowing that their needs and circumstances will change over the years.  I know that you want to plan for your family and your loved ones at the time that they will need it the most. I want to help you assure that your children, spouse and other loved ones will be taken care of in the best way possible and will be prepared to receive your wealth if anything happens to you.

I Will Assist You in “Legacy Planning”

Planning for your financial wealth is only a part of the overall goal.  There are other intangibles that make up your life.  Most estate plans only transfer your financial wealth to the next generation but there is so much more to what makes your life valuable.

What are the values that you would like to pass along to your family?  How much do you know about your parents and grandparents values? Are there things unsaid that you would like to communicate to your loved ones when you pass?

Complimentary Consultations

Finally, I give an initial complimentary consultation for estate planning because I understand that legal matters are personal – people want to know whether the attorney is the person that they feel comfortable with – enough to disclose personal information and details.

I believe that successful estate planning results from a close and trusting working relationship between you and your attorney.