First, Why did I become an Estate Planning and Elder Law Attorney?
It's simple really. My family - specifically, my grandparents. Although they are no longer with us, their memory is a constant reminder to me about why I chose this field.
When my firm was still new, my grandparents (to me, Nanny & Papa) had to move into an assisted living facility. My grandfather was showing signs of dementia, and his symptoms were worsening - he needed more specialized care. As we all know, the costs of long-term care are astronomical. My family and I watched as they drained their savings to live comfortably and safely.
My family kept asking me about my grandparents’ legal rights, but I was a young lawyer then, and the truth is, I didn't know the answers. I pledged that I would learn everything I could about elder law and estate planning. I vowed to find some way — any way — to help my family. So I read, and I studied, and I attended continuing legal education, and I read some more.
In the end, I helped them as best I could, but I learned that pre-planning is the key, and we were already late to the game. That’s when I found my passion and my life’s work.
That's why I do it, and why I am passionate about it. You can watch the "About Monteforte Law" video to learn more about why I'm so dedicated to what I do. By helping others, in some small way, it's like I'm helping my grandparents too, and hopefully making them proud. We lost my grandfather in 2017, and my grandmother in 2019. My grandfather left me a ring when he passed away, and I keep it in a display case in my office, where I can see it every day. I can look at the ring and feel the joy of when they were still here. They were also at the forefront of my mind when I created our firm's Core Values and wrote my three books. We started a scholarship in my grandfather’s name, which I pay for every year, as a way to give back to my community and honor my grandfather’s legacy.
While it was my grandparents that got me into estate planning and elder law, there are three reasons why I get up every day: My wife Jill, and our two children, Gabriella and Michael. Jill and I have been together since college (1996 - yikes!) and we have been married for over 20 years. Jill works in the health care field. As of today, Gabby is 18 and Mikey is 16. Gabby is attending Quinnipiac University in the fall, in the advanced law program, so we will have another lawyer in our family soon. Mikey is interested in business and finance.
Both of the kids are crazy busy! Gabriella danced competitively for The Dance Company in Wilmington, MA, for 15 years, and is now joining the Quinnipiac Dance Team. Mikey has played club baseball since he was 9 years old, and has traveled the world playing in baseball tournaments. Along with his club team, Mikey also plays for Wilmington High School and hopes to play baseball in college. In our free time, we love to travel and go on cruises.
My Role at Monteforte Law, P.C.
I am the CEO and strategic planner for the law firm. That means I handle “big picture” items for the Firm, including the overall direction of the practice and daily coordination with my management team. I am responsible for training our attorneys and sharing my expertise with them. I set the criteria we use to evaluate cases (now called the Monteforte Law Wealth Preservation System) to determine the absolute best plans for our clients.
I meet with high-net-worth clients and high-income earners in our Strategic Planning Session, to help them preserve their wealth, avoid estate taxes, plan for long-term care, and pass on assets to the next generation. I handle the more complex cases, so clients must have attained a certain asset level in order to meet with me personally. Other clients meet with our associate attorneys and my amazing team does the rest.
I look at every client’s estate planning as a problem that needs to be solved. I review and evaluate their assets, family situation, goals, and tax liability. My expertise lies in “solving” that client’s estate planning problem so that their estate plan achieves their goals. I pass those recommendations along to my team, who then begins the drafting work. I am responsible for complicated drafting provisions. I use the example of building a car. My incredible team does the initial drafting, which is like the engine, wheels, doors, etc. Then, if needed, I come in and add the options, with sophisticated drafting techniques, which are the equivalent of power windows, fancy speakers, and leather heated seats.
I also handle applications and appeals in the MassHealth long-term care application process. I am very proud to say that I have a 100% success rate with long-term care applications.
What don’t I do? I don’t do every Strategic Planning Session. I limit those meetings to clients who are high-income earners and have substantial assets. My associate attorneys handle the other sessions. I have trained my team to handle much of the initial process – they are smart, efficient, and great at what they do. Some estate plans are drafted by my associates, and some come to my desk for drafting to solve sophisticated issues. If your Strategic Planning Session is with one of my associates, I still evaluate the information that my team gathers in those sessions. My team handles most drafting questions and document draft review meetings. My team also handles signing meetings, once your plan is complete. With the help of my amazing team, I can focus my time solely on making sure each client receives the best recommendations and on the most complex drafting issues.
I also spend a lot of my day writing books, articles, and blog posts, creating videos for our website and giving estate planning seminars to our clients, local senior centers, and local nursing homes. My real superpower is educating our clients by explaining complex legal concepts in plain English. I like to cultivate long-term relationships with our clients, as well as our strategic referral partners. That’s why one of our Core Values is that we want to be your estate planner for life!
I grew up in Wakefield, MA, and went to Wakefield High, graduating in 1994. I attended Salem State University on the Presidential Scholarship for academics and graduated Magna Cum Laude from the Salem State Honors Program in 1998 with a degree in criminal justice.
I started Suffolk University Law School in Boston straight out of college, determined to finish in three years, despite having to work nights and weekends. I went to school with kids whose parents put them up in apartments near the school, while I was either taking the train or fighting the traffic. When not in class, I went to one of my two jobs, either a computer store in Woburn or a small law firm in Lynn.
Despite being exhausted most of the time, I graduated from Suffolk in 2001. I took the bar exam and got married all in the same week (bar exam on Wednesday and Thursday, rehearsal dinner on Friday, and the wedding on Sunday!) and still managed to pass on my first try. I was sworn into the Massachusetts Bar in January 2002. I am also sworn into the New York Bar (2014) as well as the New Hampshire Bar (2021).
Going Out on My Own
I opened the Law Office of Michael Monteforte Jr. in September 2006. The firm started as a general practice, handling pretty much whatever came in the door, but over the years, I honed my expertise in estate planning and elder law.
The firm underwent a name change and was incorporated in 2017, and is now called Monteforte Law, P.C. I was licensed as a New York attorney in 2014 and a New Hampshire attorney in 2021.
I have since written three books on the subject and am asked to speak regularly about estate planning and elder law. I am a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and am part of the Practice Development and Practice Management Section. I constantly attend MassHealth long-term care, estate planning, and elder law updates, so I am always aware of the newest rules and regulations.
Affiliations & Awards
- Admitted January 2002, Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
- Admitted to Federal practice March 2006, US District Court, District of MA
- Admitted to US Tax Court
- Admitted August 2014, State Supreme Court of New York
- Member of National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA), Federal & Massachusetts Chapters
- Member of NAELA Practice Development & Practice Management Section
- Member of NAELA Alliances Committee
- Licensed Real Estate Broker
- Licensed Life Insurance Producer/Broker
- Holder of FCLE Certificate in Trust & Estate Planning
- Vetted and Approved by Secure Insight for real estate practice
- Admitted to the Lawyers Distinction
- Lawyers of Distinction Recognized Excellence in Elder Law 2020 Award
- Lawyers of Distinction Recognized Excellence in Estate Planning 2021 Award
- Admitted April 2021, State Supreme Court of New Hampshire
- Top Rated Lawyers in New Hampshire 2021
- America's Most Honored Lawyers - Top 10% 2021
- Boston Magazine Top Lawyers 2021
- Best Probate Lawyer in Lowell 2021
- Three-time Published Author