Board Certified Specialist in Estate Planning and Probate Law
I strive to provide not only the best legal and planning advice possible, but also the best client experience available. There are lots of factors that can cause an estate plan to fail. We make sure yours won't! And we help pass on more than money by capturing your personal legacy. Have minor kids? Be sure to ask about our proprietary guardianship planning package: the Kids Protection Plan.
I used to believe that I went to law school a year too late. I needed to take a year after graduating from Chapel Hill to figure out whether I wanted to go to law school or divinity school. Taking that year off meant the difference between having my choice of prestigious jobs at major law firms, as the law school class ahead of me had, versus entering the job market during the height of the worst legal job market in living memory. Despite graduating with honors from one of the best law schools in the country and being a law review editor, I couldn’t get a job with one of those big law firms. I couldn’t even get a job at a smaller law firm. In that one year, law firms had stopped hiring. I thought, “What rotten luck.”
To make a very long story a whole lot shorter, I went out on my own. I was on a journey to find myself and run a successful business at the same time. I eventually found my niche in the estate planning field. I loved that instead of trying to resolve (or worse, perpetuate) conflict, I could help families prevent conflict before it happened. But being the new guy with no experience, I felt like I had no choice but to be the bare-bones, low budget guy.
As you can imagine, that didnt' make me happy, and worse, it didn't make most of my clients very happy either. I quickly discovered that I needed to take the opposite approach and offer as much value as possible to my clients by doing things differently from other estate planning attorneys. It changed my life.
First, we never charge an hourly fee. All of our services are offered on a flat fee basis with several flexible payment options. Our fees are always quoted up front so that you will never suffer the shock of an unexpected invoice. This means that you can always feel free to call us with your questions as they arise without fearing the bill that will follow.
Second, we commit to an ongoing relationship with every client. Instead of sending you home with a binder full of documents and never seeing you again, we will give you all the assistance you need to put your plan into effect. Not only that, but we will even call regularly to follow up and make sure that everything gets done right. And if you are uncomfortable doing it yourself, we will do it for you!
But the relationship doesn’t end there. All of our service levels include a free estate plan check-up every three years so that we can ensure that your plan keeps up with your changing life. You can also sign up for one of our membership plans to take advantage of our many enhanced services, including annual estate plan check-ups, unlimited plan revisions, 24/7 online access to copies of your estate planning documents, and even comprehensive planning meetings with your other trusted advisors to ensure that all aspects of your financial and life planning are in sync.
Third, we help you ensure that your kids will never end up in the custody of someone you would never choose in the event you are killed or hospitalized. Nearly all lawyers will give you a guardianship provision in your will and stop there. That’s just not enough. A guardianship provision in a will does nothing until your will is probated and a legal guardianship proceeding is completed. This can take weeks or even months! And a guardianship provision in your will does absolutely nothing if you are hospitalized or otherwise incapacitated. Our comprehensive Kids Protection Plans ensure that your kids are cared for by someone you trust at all times and in all circumstances.
Finally, we help you preserve and pass on the aspects of your legacy that traditional estate planning ignores—the human aspects. I learned the importance of preserving a personal legacy first-hand. In August of 2010, my grandfather (we called him PawPaw), gave me a birthday check for $100. When I went to cash it, I noticed he had accidentally dated the check “20010”. Realizing I would probably not live to see the year 20010, I kept the check in my wallet, meaning to have him write a new check with the right date. But soon after my birthday he started getting sick. Prostate cancer took him away from us on All Saints Day, November 1.
He didn’t leave much behind. My family has cherished every random bit of paper we could find that had his handwriting on it. I still carry that birthday check in my wallet to remind me of my PawPaw.
There is so much we could have done to preserve more of his personal legacy—his stories, his values, his religious convictions, and even the sound of his voice. Instead, all we have are fading memories. Through our process, you will leave your family a lasting record of who you are as a person and the things that are important to you in life. Believe me when I say that they will be so thankful you did.
I hope you can tell how excited I am about all of the new and different ways we have found to serve our clients! I began this story by saying that I used to think I had rotten luck because of the way that extra year between college and law school changed my career path. I couldn’t have been more wrong! I realize now that it was one of the greatest blessings of my life. If I had ended up working at a big law firm, I would never have ended up where I am today, offering what I honestly believe is the best, most comprehensive estate planning service for families in the Charlotte area. If you have a busy life, love your kids, and want to make sure they will be taken care of no matter what happens, give us a call to request a free information packet that will tell you all about our unique approach to family estate planning.
|Award name||Grantor||Date granted|
|Peer Review Rated||Martindale-Hubbell||2017|
|Lawyer of Distinction - Nominated||Lawyers of Distinction||2017|
|Board Certified Specialist in Estate Planning and Probate Law||North Carolina State Bar Board of Legal Specialization||2017|
|Elite Service Provider 2016||ARAG||2016|
|Peer Review Rated||Martindale-Hubbell||2016|
|Elite Service Provider||ARAG||2015|
|Top Attorneys of North America||Who's Who Legal||2015|
|Peer Review Rated||Martindale-Hubbell||2015|
|Peer Review Rated||Martindale-Hubbell||2014|
|James C.C. Treadway Law Scholarship||Washington and Lee University School of Law||2010|
|J.D. cum laude||Washington and Lee University School of Law||2010|
|Lead Articles Editor||Washington and Lee Law Review||2009|
|James C.C. Treadway Law Scholarship||Washington and Lee University School of Law||2009|
|Staff Writer||Washington and Lee Law Review||2008|
|James C.C. Treadway Law Scholarship||Washington and Lee University School of Law||2008|
|James C.C. Treadway Law Scholarship||Washington and Lee University School of Law||2007|
|Member/Manager||Providence Wills and Trusts||2011 - Present|
|Principal Attorney||Law Office of Zachary B. Setzer PLLC||2011 - Present|
|Owner||LegalWiseNC.com||2011 - Present|
|Summer Associate||Harrington Law Firm||2009 - 2009|
|Association name||Position name||Duration|
|American Bar Association||Member||2015 - Present|
|American Bar Association, Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section||Member||2015 - Present|
|Union County Bar Association||Member||2010 - Present|
|North Carolina State Bar||Member||2010 - Present|
|National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Special Needs Law Section||Member||2013 - 2014|
|National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys||Member||2012 - 2014|
|Providence Wills and Trusts||Kids Protection Planning Guide||2015|
|Providence Wills and Trusts||How To Leave Behind Retirement Assets The Right Way||2015|
|Providence Wills and Trusts||Guide to NFA Gun Trusts||2015|
|National Business Institute||Advanced Elder Law Ethics||2014|
|Washington and Lee Law Review||Washington and Lee Law Review: Volume 67 (Lead Articles Editor)||2010|
|Washington and Lee Law Review||Washington and Lee Law Review: Volume 66 (Staff Writer)||2009|
|SSRN||Twombly Reinterpreted: A Response to Professor Thomas’s "Why the Motion to Dismiss is Now Unconstitutional"||2009|
|Washington and Lee University School of Law||JD - Juris Doctor||2010|
|University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill||BA - Bachelor of Arts||2006|
|University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill||BA - Bachelor of Arts||2006|
|Keeping Your Business and Personal Lives Separate||Business Planning and Limited Liability||2014|
|How To Avoid Probate||Probate Avoidance||2014|
|Grandparents as Guardians||Guardianship Planning||2014|
|Estate Planning for Special Needs Beneficiaries||Special Needs Planning||2014|
|Advanced Elder Law||Legal Ethics in Elder Law||2014|
|Ranney v. Honigman||Ongoing|
|Moore v. Moore||Favorable settlement|
Posted by Michael
Thu Oct 01 2015
Posted by Virginia
Tue Sep 29 2015
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