Estate and trust planning and administration for my clients is the heart of my law practice. Back in the mid-1990s, I had almost fifteen years of business law and litigation experience under my belt, but found myself having to refer clients to other firms and attorneys to help them with their estate planning. I hated to do that, because those clients had grown to view me as their “personal lawyer.”
So I began to research estate and gift tax law, and then the finer details of “nontax” estate and trust law – the sorts of stuff they don’t teach us in law school. It was a good time to do that, because (as it turned out) I was at just that age – my mid-40s – when clients will begin to trust a lawyer to know enough about the world to have a feel for all the things that go into estate planning.
Estate and trust law is not usually a fertile field for younger lawyers, and if you’ve been shopping around for an estate lawyer, you’ve probably noticed that most have a little gray hair (or in some cases, no hair remaining). For most of us, it’s a “graduate” field, not something we got into fresh out of law school.
Before starting to hold myself out as a Virginia trusts and estates lawyer, I watched, talked with, corresponded with, and learned from some truly outstanding lawyers in the field – men and woman who generally were the personal lawyers for truly wealthy families. They taught me a lot. These days, some of them might still have a thing or two they could teach me, but now I can sometimes reciprocate, with something that’s new to them.
As I learned from studying what those lawyers did, I also learned – sometimes by hitting the books, but often by just trying and learning what works and what doesn’t – what sort of practice, and what sort of systems, I could develop to best serve you, my clients. (And my future clients who are “just visiting” this website.)
And what I have come up with over the years are tools, techniques, and systems to bring to my clients, whether middle-income or “something more,” the same quality of knowledge, planning, advice, documentation, and follow-through that those personal lawyers for truly wealthy families provide for their clients.
So, if you’re interviewing candidates to be your estate planning lawyer – and perhaps your “personal lawyer” as well – please call or email me. I’ll send you my planning worksheets and materials and we can set up a short meeting – without any obligation on your part to proceed any further.