Services.

Trusts and Wills

I have been drafting wills since the 1970s and creating trusts since the ‘80s. When I started drafting trusts, bankers were not yet familiar with them and someone in my office routinely had to show the banker how to set up the trust accounts. Now, most of my clients use trusts, but I also draft wills as their primary planning documents (see my Legal Blog for more specific information on trusts).

 

In drafting your estate planning documents I will typically meet with you one time for about an hour. I will then prepare draft forms for your review. After revisions are made, we will meet again to discuss any remaining questions you may have and to sign the documents.

Probate and Trust Administration

Over the past few decades, I have acted as attorney for the estate representatives of many probate actions. Though there are now fewer probate petitions filed, probate continues to be necessary for many estates — often because a person chooses to have a will instead of a trust (a trust costs more), or because the person never got around to creating either a will or a trust.

If you find yourself faced with the need to file a probate petition, I can efficiently get you through the process.

If estate assets are passed through a trust, the need for attorney involvement is often limited or eliminated. Often all that’s needed is to transfer the family home or a bank account to the new owner. I am available to offer legal guidance on transferring those assets. For larger, more complicated estates, I often help to manage, account for and distribute the trust estate.

I find that navigating through the issues presented by the probate and trust administration processes provides interesting and rewarding work. I look forward to working with you, if you need help.

Business Issues

Sole Proprietorship? LLC? Corporation? S Corp? General Partnership? Limited Partnership? Let’s talk. 

If you’re starting a business with others, you should have a good contract that clearly expresses your agreements and expectations. My problem-solving focus and experience covers these areas, and more – including helping with vendor and customer complications, or simply assisting with the myriad glitches that arise in the course of doing business.

Let’s work together to keep your business functioning smoothly.

Real Estate

Whether you are the buyer, seller, lessor or lessee, a good contract is a must. I can also help you with easement issues, evictions, construction defect problems, title problems and more. I’ve been there before.

Personal Injury

In this field it is especially important to find an attorney who will move your case along — and even more important that your attorney keep you up to date about what is going on in your case. 

When a client comes to me after being represented by another attorney in a personal injury case, it is often because the client did not know what was going on in the case, or that no progress had been made and he or she felt the attorney did not view their case as important.

If I take your case, we will work together, and you will know what is happening at each step. I will also give you my frank assessment, and I won’t tell you your case is worth more than I think it is. One of the difficulties with personal injury cases is that they often don’t generate the value that clients expect them to. Because they are time consuming for both client and attorney, as well as emotionally and financially expensive, I will not become involved in a case unless I feel that my client and I will be able to communicate in a realistic way about the settlement value.

If I take your personal injury case, I will work hard for you to get the best result.

Litigation

In my practice, litigation is a last resort because of many factors that make it generally an unsatisfactory approach to problem solving. Going to court is always an option when there is a dispute, and we’ll be ready to go if our more measured approach is not successful in arriving at a desired result, and if there is a reasonable chance a court action can provide a better outcome.

Briefly stated, some of the factors that make it smart to avoid litigation when possible are:

  1. The other side will remember the facts differently from you and will have a different point of view about any facts the two sides do agree on.
  2. You do not know what a judge or jury will decide.
  3. The law is complex. I may find cases that I argue support your case. The other side will find cases that they argue support their case. Someone else, and not you, will decide who is right.
  4. According to judges I have talked with, the last offer before trial is almost always more than the award, if any, after trial.
  5. The litigation process, including trial, is not fun. During the process, you will be asked for written, oral and documentary information. You will spend much time providing information, and more time worrying about testifying in your deposition and at trial. Unless your case is taken on a contingent fee basis, you will undoubtedly worry about how you are going to pay the ever increasing costs and attorney’s fees. Take my word for it, this is a process you will not enjoy.
  6. LITIGATION IS EXPENSIVE.

There it is.

Sometimes, though, going to court is the only path toward a reasonable result. In that case, we prepare thoroughly, continue to look for ways to reach a settlement and go in ready to clearly let the court know our position and why it is right. But, we’re going to try to avoid all of this, if we can.