We do estate planning differently from other attorneys. Our passion and focus is on "family wealth preservation". When I first started practicing we would see families lose some or all of their wealth even though they had a "plan". It turned out that the plan was nothing more than paper and did little or nothing to help the family keep the wealth they worked hard to acquire. Time and time again we saw: (1) one spouse dies and the survivor remarries, then changes the will to give some or all of the family wealth to the new spouse and little or nothing to the children; (2) parents die and pass inheritance to child who later gets divorced and ex-spouse ends up with up to 1/2 the inheritance; (3) child receives inheritance, gives to his/her spouse at child's death, and then spouse remarries and family wealth ends up with in-law's new spouse and nothing to the grandchildren; (4) creditors reaching the family wealth; (5) payment of tax that could have been avoided. We develop Family Wealth Preservation plans so that the family wealth stays with the people who are supposed to have it and prevent "outsiders" cannot take away it away.
Prior to going back to law school I was a math/comp-sci person working mostly for a company that designed hospital computer systems. After law school I did an extra year and received an LLM (a masters law degree) in tax. From there, I have worked exclusively in the area of estates, estate planning, and probate.
Someone who is working hard to accumulate wealth and wants to have a plan to help the family keep the wealth. These are often people involved in business - either business owners or business executives.
BS-Carnegie Mellon University / JD-Widener Univ. School of Law / LL.M-Tax-Georgetown Univ School of Law
1984 / 1994 / 1995
Qualifying Questions: What are three questions we can ask clients to help pave the way for a referral? List them here.
1. Does the referral have a well designed plan? If the response is "I have Will." Then the answer is probably not. Yes, they have a Will, but they don't have a plan.
2. For a married couple: (a) "Are either of you OK if after the first of you dies and the survivor remarries, the survivor changes the Will leaving your family assets to the new spouse and leaving nothing to the children?" and (b) "Did you know that in Tennessee a spouse cannot be disinherited unless there is a prenuptial agreement or a trust?" This is called the "Spousal Elective Share".
3. For someone with children: "Are you OK if your child gets divorced after you die and loses 1/2 the inheritance to the ex-in-law?"