WILLS AND WORDS CHALLENGE WEEK # 7 FINAL ARGUMENT (an estate planner's chronicle)

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THE PROBLEM: 50% of Americans do not have an Estate Plan (wills, trusts, powers of attorney).

THE CHALLENGE:  Make the case for an Estate Plan to 50% of Americans (or at least to my family, friends, and community).

THE CONTENDER:  An Oak Park attorney (sole practitioner) who has discovered the value of both having an estate plan and the ability to draft one.    

THE METHOD:  One argument, article, or essay a week persuading action.

THE DEADLINE:  7 weeks



Making the Case for an Estate Plan



For the last six weeks I have attempted to make the case for an estate plan using six arguments of persuasion.  START WITH A PLAN, NOT A HEART ATTACK...CHOOSE A NAME, DON'T PLAY THE ODDS....CAN ESTATE PLANNING BE SEXY?.....SIGN A FORM, MAKE COLLEGE EASY....DRAFT IT, EQUAL IS NOT ALWAYS FAIR....I WILL BE DEAD, WHAT'S IN IT FOR ME?  Perhaps, one of these arguments has persuaded you to do it!  If so, it raises the question; who should you choose to draft your estate plan?  My response choose me.  Choose me because I love estate planning and I am good at it.  Choose me because my estate plans are reasonably priced.  Choose me because I am an estate planning true believer.   


I have been practicing law for decades but only recently began practicing estate planning law.  Once I began, it was love at first sight!  I love meeting with clients and discussing their lives.  I find joy learning about new estate planning tools and changes in the law.  It makes me happy deciding how to best advise my clients to accomplish their estate planning goals.  I believe that the passion I have for estate planning enhances the confidence and competence of my work which allows me to better serve my clients.  I am not the only one who believes that happiness in work and competence are related.  It is advice given by businesswoman Ina Garten.


We all know that Ina Garten writes fabulous cookbooks.  (Ina's 11th cookbook, Cook Like a Pro, is being released today!)  You may not know that Ina is also an accomplished business women (likely worth $50 million).  So, it is no surprise she has some sage advice.  One career lesson Ina gives is, "Do what makes you happy, you can't help but be good at it."   It is advice that I followed when I started working as a sole practitioner and advice that I continue to follow every day.  Choosing me, an attorney who is happy in my work, will yield quality estate plans for you, my clients. 


I started a solo legal practice to do what I love and to help support my family financially (not to earn a million dollars).  I want to make obtaining an estate plan as affordable as possible for my clients.  I aspire to be the Bailey Park (from the movie It's A Wonderful Life) of estate planning.  That is, to deliver an estate plan that is worth twice its cost.  My estate plans are comprehensive, yet easy to follow and they organize all your assets, bills, medical information, and documentation into one binder.  Choose me, an attorney whose estate plans are a good value for a valuable investment.  


I believe that all adults should have an estate plan.  I am an estate planning true believer.  Every time I attend guardianship or probate court it reinforces that belief.  There I observe estates that could have been handled by families rather than the court if estate plans had been put into place.  


Instead, the estates have turned into contested court cases with multiple attorneys and a court calendar lasting for several years in some cases.  So much time, energy and money are spent on settling estates in court that could have been avoided with an estate plan.  A few hours and a few thousand dollars spent in creating an estate plan will likely avoid countless hours of frustration, family strife and thousands and thousands of dollars spent in guardianship and probate court.  Choose me, an attorney who will help you and your family avoid wasting your time, energy and money in court.


I have come to the end of my Wills and Words Challenge.  I hope that I have persuaded you to obtain an estate plan and to choose me to draft it.  Someday, I may create an estate planning RV and drive around the state drafting estate plans for people.  My motto is "Putting guardianship and probate court out of business one client at a time."  Come join me!