Pamela Maass Garrett is a “Law Mother,” with her own law firm, who helps families protect their children and assets, while building their legacy and creating wealth. She answered a few questions about her Financial A-Team and what it’s like to be an Estate Planning Attorney.
Tell us about what you do.
I am a Colorado licensed Attorney who helps parents and business owners protect who and what matter most. I am the first lawyer in my family. I come from a family of educators and engineers who had previous bad experiences with lawyers. Growing up with their experiences influenced me. I had family members who were taken advantage of by lawyers, which is why I started my legal career as a Deputy District Attorney in Boulder. My biggest goal was to protect the most vulnerable.
One of my first cases as a DDA involved a tragedy that involved young parents. The parents were killed in a car accident leaving behind two young boys. I got to know the surviving family members. They were loving people who banned together for the criminal case. However, I later discovered that the family spent years in probate court fighting over who would raise the two boys. The conflict could have been avoided if someone would have given this young couple access to basic legal planning tools.
I saw this pattern over and over again in the last twelve years of my legal practice. However, it didn’t hit home until my own family went through it. A family member of mine passed away and there were a lot of conflicts. The conflict could have all been avoided with some simple legal planning with my family members early on.
It was through these experiences that I realized that there was a major unmet need. Many people my age, young professionals in their 30s and 40s, don’t have access to basic legal planning tools to protect their loved ones and keep them out of court and conflict. This inspired me to launch my law firm and take my experiences litigating conflict to help families protect their loved ones and keep them out of court and conflict.
To obtain a license to practice law in Colorado, I earned a Bachelor of Science degree, a Master of Science degree, and a Juris Doctorate degree (J.D.) from accredited universities. I also received a passing score on the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam, Colorado Uniform Bar Exam, and met the character and fitness requirements.
How do you help your clients achieve Big Financial Goals?
We are a law firm dedicated to families and business owners. We understand that planning for your family’s future without you in it is not easy for you. After all, we are parents too. We believe in protecting your family’s future so that you can enjoy peace of mind today. We understand that you are BUSY but that you also want to provide financial security, prosperity, and comfort for your loved ones after you are gone.
This is our priority for you as well.
Our team will work with you to make planning for the unexpected as simple as possible. We streamline our meetings with you and can help you get from a place of uncertainty to peace of mind in eight short weeks. We charge flat fees for our work, which are always agreed upon in advance so there are no surprises. We offer Zoom meetings from the comfort of your home. Also, you can expect a lifelong relationship with us through regular review meetings and communication from our team.
What are some the questions people should ask an Estate Planning Attorney before they officially join their Financial A-Team?
Not all estate planning attorneys are equal.
Below are key considerations for finding the right attorney.
Avoid Hourly Fees or $399 Offers
Flat fees vs. Hourly fees. The advantage of flat fees is agreed to in advance and there are no surprises. It also encourages the attorney to be your advisor and develop a relationship. Beware of $399 price quotes from attorneys who don’t take the time to understand your situation and speak with you. When I work with my clients, I do everything personalized. I don’t do price quotes over the phone because I want to be sure people aren’t paying for things they don’t need. If a law firm offers a low priced estate plan on their website, chances are they are doing a form document that won’t be customized and personalized for you or there is an unseen cost on the back end. They are not going to take the time to be a true advisor and are instead going to give you a low-cost, low-quality, quick solution.
A lawyer offering estate plans for $2,000 or less is usually cutting corners, churning through as many clients as possible, and undercutting their fees because they aren’t providing much more than what you can download online. In ugly situations, they are selling you a high commissioned insurance product or luring you in with a low price offer, and then upselling on the back end. Look for attorneys that really take the time to understand your assets, what you actually need, and want to educate you.
When researching flat fees, ask the lawyer if:
- All of the fees are flat fees, or if there are other expenses.
- What happens if I call with a question after my plan is complete?
- How will you be sure my assets are owned the right way?
- How will you keep my plan up to date? How am I charged for this?
Ask about support funding your trust.
If you are setting up a living trust, transferring your assets into the trust correctly is vital. The process of transferring assets into your trust is known as “funding” your trust. If your assets aren’t transferred to the trust correctly, then you just wasted your money on a stack of paper that isn’t going to protect your family. Be sure the firm will give you some type of support through the funding process. At our firm, we provide unlimited guidance and support for funding your living trust: a full finding toolkit and a final review meeting to be sure things were transferred correctly.
Ask the attorney how you can go about updating the trust throughout your life. Many estate plans fail because people forget to update their estate plans. I include a no-cost three-year plan review with all of my clients. I also have a monthly newsletter updating my clients on any changes to estate planning laws. You want to be sure that the attorney and firm have a process for you to stay in touch if you need additional support.
Who is on your Financial A-Team?
I work with a financial advisor, insurance advisor, business attorney, and tax lawyer.
To connect with Pamela, or if you’d like to learn more about her firm and estate planning or schedule a complimentary 15-minute call, you can reach her at 720-706-0036 or email@example.com. You can also learn more by visiting her website lawmother.com.
You can download a free chapter of Pamela’s new international best-selling book here: https://lawmother.com/lea/.