This blog post is a little out of the ordinary. But today I wanted to touch on something that many people don’t think about when it comes to dealing with an estate planning or elder law attorney.
And that’s the importance of having a relationship with your attorney.
Many people think of estate planning as an isolated transaction. They go to a law firm (or worse, online), hire a lawyer to draft some documents for them, and then check “prepare estate plan” off the list of things they need to do.
They bring their plan home, throw it in their file cabinet, and go to bed resting easy that their “affairs” are taken care of.
We Believe in Building a Relationship With Our Clients
We think that this model of document preparation is old and outdated.
We believe that estate planning should not just be about one transaction and preparing documents.
We believe that to do our best work for our clients, we need to have a relationship with them.
We believe that building a relationship with our clients means staying in touch with them, calling them periodically to see how they are doing, and inviting them to call us if they ever get into legal trouble, without worrying that they will get a bill for the call.
I give my private cell phone number to every client that completes an estate plan with my office.
Why is Having a Relationship With Your Attorney So Important?
Many of the clients that we see are coming to us in crisis.
They have a loved one with Alzheimer’s or Dementia, or perhaps they recently had a stroke or heart attack.
And now they are thrust into the role of caregiver for a family member – a role that may be a bit over their head.
They are looking for assistance from somewhere, anywhere, to help with this huge and expensive new burden.
By having a relationship with these clients, we can help them along the way BEFORE things get out of hand.
We can direct them to the appropriate care managers to assist with the care of their loved one.
We can make sure everything that their loved one spent a lifetime to build up and save is protected from the crippling cost of nursing home care and/or from Medicaid.
How Do We Build a Relationship With Our Clients?
I read somewhere once that it takes three meetings with a client for a lawyer to truly understand that client’s problem.
In no practice area is this truer than elder law and estate planning.
Each and every time I meet with a client, I learn a little bit more about them.
I learn what makes them comfortable and what makes them uncomfortable.
I learn how I need to talk to them to put them at ease.
I learn about their hopes and dreams.
I learn about their hobbies and interests.
I learn about what makes them a human being.
And while I’m learning all this about my clients, they are learning a bit about me too.
They learn that I have a Wife and three young kids.
They learn that we have a dog named Lucy.
They learn that I love technology and use it extensively in my law practice.
They learn that I used to practice law in Florida before moving to North Carolina in 2009.
They learn that I don’t believe in creating legal problems for a client where they didn’t exist before.
They learn that I’m an avid Cleveland sports fan.
And finally, they learn that I truly care about my clients and want what is best for them.
Is This the Type of Relationship You Want With Your Lawyer?
If what you are reading here makes sense, if you are looking for a lawyer that you can have a deep and meaningful relationship with so that they can identify legal problems a mile away, then it might make sense for us to meet.
Simply use this link to fill out our contact form or schedule a quick call with me to talk about how we might be able to help you. Or you can just give us a call the old-fashioned way at (919) 460-5422.