Recovering Divorce Lawyer
For my first 10 years as an attorney, I represented clients in divorces and custody fights. I thought my background in counseling would be a good fit for this emotional area, and allow me to help clients solve their problems. I soon learned that some of my clients didn’t want to reach reasonable settlements with the other side; it was really all about trying to hurt the ex. Spouses bad-mouthed each other in court. While one side or the other may have won the battle, they lost the war for their entire family.
One time I had worked for months on a nasty divorce case, and finally worked out a settlement that was agreeable to both sides. But when it came time to sign the judgment, my client refused! She didn't really want to settle the case, but wanted to use the divorce to continue to hassle and hurt her former partner. Enough was enough! I knew I needed to make a change and practice in a different area, but I hesitated. I had a lot of experience and knowledge in family law and could make a good living. I didn't want to start all over in a new area. However, the more I thought about continuing to practice family law, the more depressed I felt. Life was too short. There had to be a better way!
Estate & Legacy Planning – Long Term Relationships & Helping Families
I had always done some simple estate planning as a part of my practice, and I realized it was an area I really enjoyed. However, the “normal” model of estate planning seemed to be one where the attorney is in the business of selling documents. After only an hour or two of counseling, the attorney produces a somewhat cookie-cutter word-processed document. The plan is never funded or updated, and when the client dies, the trust must be settled (costing the survivors) and the unfunded property must be probated (costing the survivors even more). Traditional estate plans often don’t work the way the clients intended, and attorneys make a lot of money selling documents and probating estates.
This didn’t seem like it helped people much, but then I found a better option. I learned about the National Network of Estate Planning Attorneys. They had come up with a different way of doing estate planning, one that really worked to help clients, and focused on results, using the Three Step Planning Strategy™. Their process starts out with free education for the clients, and they spend hours counseling with clients to learn about them and their families. They talk about planning options most clients never knew existed, help the clients to make informed choices, and produce custom and highly personalized documents designed to achieve those values and goals. They professionally fund trusts and have a formal update and continuing education plan to ensure funding is kept up to date and changes in the client’s values or family or the law are reflected in the documents. When the client becomes disabled or dies, they are able to work with the survivors at a substantial savings in cost because the estate is already organized.
I’m excited about being able to help my clients effectively transfer both their financial and nonfinancial wealth, and to establish long-term caring relationships with my clients and their families. I’ve implemented my own version of the Three-Step Planning Strategy, which I call the LegacyBuilder Planning Process™. I love to teach, and enjoy helping people to achieve their goals. I appreciate the excellent legal/technical training I have received from the National Network of Estate Planning Attorneys, the continuing education I receive on cutting-edge developments in estate and legacy planning, and the ongoing support I receive from colleagues never further away than an email or phone call.
Fixed (Sometimes), Free Consultation (90 minutes)
Cash, Check, Credit Card
I am familiar with Mr. Eagar through our mutual membership in the National Network of Estate Planning Attorneys, which is a national organization for estate planning legal professionals with counseling-centered practices. We have attended several national events together and I have found Mr. Eagar to be very thorough and detail-oriented. His varied background, including his service as a military officer, gives him a perspective that many other attorneys do not have.
Ronald Stutes Estate Planning Attorney
|Gonzaga Law Review||“The Right Tool for the Job: The Effective Use of Pedagogical Methods in Legal Education,”||1998|
|Legal CE for NAIFA||The Truth About Estate Planning||2010|
|NAIFA Grants Pass Meeting||Planning for Mental Disability||2009|