Law Offices of Gerard F. Lane
Thus begins 90+ percent of our Estate Planning Contacts.
And, we are truly sorry, but it just doesn’t work that way.
If only it did.
However we do understand and recognize your…
Legitimate Consumer Apprehension
In a way the current estate planning climate is somewhat reminiscent of a popular 1980s muffler advertisement campaign.
In that ad series, one I am sure we are all familiar with, the customer was completely terrified of the financial burden that was about to be levied upon her by an unscrupulous auto mechanic and so she enters the garage and begins and ends the conversation with, “I’m not going to pay a lot for this muffler!”
Today life is not so different for us in our profession, and thus, a bit shockingly, we have people almost daily walking into our office and in so many words saying, “I’m not going to pay a lot for this… “estate plan”.
But we do understand – Completely.
The Genesis of ‘Estate Plan’ Fear:
Believe it or not, and contrary to traditional perceptions, we believe that this apprehension has little or nothing to do with a fear of the finality of life as is so often portrayed or falsely assumed. In fact, we believe it is naïve indeed for anyone to assume that a person is not acutely aware of his own mortality at various points throughout his life, and particularly when seeking out our services. The 'simple will' mentality is not merely a rush to get through the process, rather it is a concern over the unknowns of estate planning and a generalized lack of trust in the practicioners in this field.
What we know from experience, both business and life, is that people are indeed highly aware of the uncertainties of life and merely wish to maximize their potential both in the here-and-now as well as in the evermore [generally through their children] as is their absolute right under the laws of the United States of America!
So Why the Apprehension?
What is it that drives this ‘simple will’ mentality?
Ironically, all too often a client contacts us who is absolutely certain that all he or she needs is a ‘simple will’, yet upon even the most superficial inquiry he/she can neither define what a ‘simple will’ is, nor explain why a simple will is all he/she needs.
We do believe we understand; and we believe the genesis of this certainty of a need for only a ‘simple will’ derives from the actual or anticipated experience a client has had with so-called “financial planners” and/or so-called “estate planning” attorneys. Frankly - it is frightening, even for us.
Let’s face it – these snake oil salesmen are out there, everywhere - and they are looking for you.
They infiltrate your psyche on television and the radio; they send you scary advertising flyers or emails, and they terrify you like a ‘B-movie’ wherever and whenever they can. If you do not call them NOW, you will likely end up in the ditch, with no medical care and not one penny to pass along to your six children. And it may already be too late!
In the most desperate and tasteless tactics, they even host seminars in retirement homes (yes, yuk! – but it happens). Furthermore, they make planning for your future and thereafter seem like rocket science crossed with witchcraft - as opposed to the reasonable, intelligent, informed and thoughtful care that you have always shown for your major life’s achievements, goals and successes.
I have been to such seminars – and I have heard all their foreboding predictions. And I was horrified. And that is when I decided to enter the realm of Estate Planning.
The bottom line to this firm is that whatever you have earned is yours, whatever you have gained is yours, whatever you have inherited is yours, whatever you have won is yours, whatever you have been granted is yours, whatever has been given to you is yours, whatever is yours is yours; and it is not for the federal or the state government, or anyone else, to say otherwise. And we will do everything possible and legal to keep it that way. That is our first and primary charge. It is yours and we will do everything under the law to keep it so, and when appropriate to pass it on to whomever you deem worthy, all according to your wishes.
Fortunately there is a happy middle ground between the ever elusive “simple will” and the multiple tier trusts plans that cost tens of thousands of dollars to formulate, draft and execute that are so complex that even the average lawyer is befuddled. That’s where this office can be of service - to the 99% of the less than billionaire population. fn1
And it is where we would like to be of service to you.
How We Operate
To put you at ease let me explain the process we follow in our office. When you come to my office we first get to know you. This is not entirely business. We want to know who you are where you have been; what you have done between the time you first breathed air in this world of ours and the moment you opened our door.
And we equally want to know what you intend to do from that moment until your final one. And if we can assist you in those goals, we are here to do just that. If we cannot we will tell you so in the frankest of terms. And if we think another can help you better than us, then we will likewise direct you to that person.
I do not make a complete living from my retirement and estate planning business; so I chose to prepare and to represent only those clients that have truly reflected on the seriousness of the matter at hand, and thereafter made their decisions accordingly.
If you are still the, “I just need a simple will” person, then we may not be the right law firm for you. And in this area of law as with others, I like to represent only those people I truly want to.
But for those that I have represented, should the occasion arise at some later point (be it pre or post mortem), I will go to the mat, because I can say with confidence that I knew their intentions with 100% moral certainty and I executed them. I believe this to be the highest virtue of this branch of law.
I chose this type of practice because I like the people I work with and each and every one of them has a story to tell and lessons to teach. They want to pass on their lives to someone, usually their kin. But their lives are so much more than their property. And if I am nothing at all, I am a pupil of life. Some will leave jewels, some property, some bank accounts, but all will pass themselves on in one form or another, and I have already been blessed on occasion to be the last person to have experienced that legacy, and to help pass it on. Of all, that is by far the most rewarding experience of this area of law.
If during our first meeting we should we decide that we are suited to work together then I will generally take down the information I need, we will discuss a plan, you will make some decisions either then and there or more likely after you have had time to go home and think about it and to discuss it with your loved ones. If you decide to move forward with me and I with you, I will then draft your documents, we will review them at my office, and then after we are both satisfied that the documents I have drafted will accomplish your goals, we will execute them.
Ultimately, there is no pressure, no worries, and it is all truly about you.
Bottom Line is that Estate Planning can represent a wide spectrum of possibilities and it can be very scary. Our goal is to make it less so.
Estate planning does not have to be rocket science - and ‘more’ is not necessarily 'better'. But plans should be made and documents do have to be prepared correctly, even for some of the simplest estates; or the results can be well... - less than optimum.
We welcome your business.
Feel free to take advantage of our free initial consultation and hopefully, where others may try to worry you and put you ill-at-ease, we can make sense for you and put you - fully at ease.
Footnote #1: As a point of clarification, if you are a Billionaire, please feel free to call anyway - we'll see what we can do for you.