You’re A What?
I’m an estate planning and elder law attorney.
What does that mean, and how did I get here? How can I help you now that I have arrived at this point in my law practice?
Country Humorist Jerry Clower told a story based on the adage or rhetorical question, “Where will you be when you get where you’re going?”
A I little more polished, Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger was often quoted saying “If you do not know where you are headed, then any road will take you there.”
Where am I now in my law practice? What road did I take to get here?
My own personal odyssey began after an undergraduate accounting degree from FSU and law school at UGA with my doing fairly sophisticated commercial real estate and real estate finance law in Dallas, Texas, for the better part of my first 10 years of practice. I saw the boom and the bust times during those formative years; the upside, and the downside, so to speak. I also developed experience representing for-profit business entities, not-for-profit organizations, and charities. And I first began to deal with trust and estates there.
When I returned to Northeast Florida, I retooled with an LL.M. in Taxation from the UF Law Graduate Tax Program, and then opened my own practice. I actually grew up in Orange Park, and although Jacksonville proper offers a bigger market, I really enjoy living and practicing law in a suburban location that I know and love. Hence, I still practice in Orange Park today, 20 years after hanging out my shingle in Florida.
I knew that I would do my fair share of transactional, business, corporate, and real estate law in Orange Park. I also expected that I would practice in the traditional area of estate planning. That deals with the legal solutions and procedures planned for and followed in the event of a client’s disability, incapacity, and death. So in summary, my expectation was that I would basically continue what in the old days would have been called a “Real Property, Probate, and Trust” practice, which also by necessity would include business and corporate law as a component.
Something strange happened along the way: I became aware of the increasing number of senior adults in Northeast Florida who needed institutional level custodial care due to chronic illnesses, such as dementia, stokes, and general aging related physical and medical conditions. Public assistance planning was vital, as institutional care was cost prohibitive for most of my clients otherwise.
Soon, my “old school” estate planning practice had become also an elder law planning practice, in which I was challenged to zealously seek holistic solutions for my clients’ various problems arising from aging, chronic illness, special needs, disability, and yes, still death, with follow up post-mortem action needed. Interestingly enough, all of my prior legal experience and education worked very well with the increasing and varied demands of my senior adult and special needs clients.
Now, whether we label it “retirement age planning,” “long term care” planning, Medicaid pre-planning, elder law, estate planning, or just plain old lawyering, I’ve found that where I am is where I started, acting as both an attorney (technically correct and professional lawyer) and counselor (wise and practical advisor) to my clients, each of whom are unique and varied, and each of whom have real legal and practical needs requiring careful planning and professionally crafted solutions.
I’m pleased and blessed to have this opportunity, and continue to make myself and my team available to try to craft solutions as necessary to help properly address your and your family’s own needs in an honest, professional manner.
Don’t be a victim of one size fits all planning. Know your legal rights on estate planning and elder law planning, and act accordingly!