First, Why do I do this?
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) decided it would be best to move into an assisted living facility. My grandfather was starting to suffer from dementia, and his symptoms were worsening - he needed more specialized care. As we all know, the costs of long-term care are astronomical. During this time, 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 was still perfecting and honing the focus of my practice. I pledged myself then, that I would become educated in the fields of elder law and estate planning. I took this opportunity to read and learn as much as I could to find some way — any way — to help my family. So I read, and I studied, and I attended continuing legal education, to learn this field.
What I learned is that pre-planning is the key, and we were already late to the game. That’s when I found my passion. I currently only accept cases in estate planning and elder law. While I have resources and a referral network available for clients needing other forms of legal help, my focus gives me the greatest opportunity to provide as much help as I can.
That's why I do it, and why I am passionate about it, and you can watch the "About Monteforte Law" video to see 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. And it's not just the ring; my office is filled with gifts and decorations they gave me when I was first starting, and could barely afford to pay the rent. A long time has passed since then, but I can look at these items - the ring, the nameplate on my desk, various trinkets - 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 two books.
People come to me in trying times. They, or their parents, worked and saved all of their lives, and now they worry they may lose it all to the costs of later-life care. And when I tell them I can help them, the weight falls off their shoulders. That's the best part of my day.
While it was my grandparents that got me into estate planning and elder law, there are three reasons why I still do it today: 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 almost 20 years. Jill works in the health care field. As of today, Gabby is 16 and Mikey is almost 15, and they both go to Wilmington High School. Gabby has aspirations to (maybe) become a lawyer, and Mikey is interested in medicine and science.
Both of the kids are crazy busy! Gabriella dances competitively for The Dance Company in Wilmington, MA, and has been traveling for dance competitions for many years. Gabby also plays field hockey and does spring track for Wilmington High School. 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.
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. The most important thing the criminal justice curriculum taught me was that I never wanted to be a criminal lawyer. It was definitely going to be the Civil side of the law for me.
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 around the corner from the school, while I was either taking the train or fighting the traffic. When I got out of 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, meeting my goal of finishing in three years. 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 stayed on as an Associate with the Lynn firm until 2006, when I went out on my own and opened the Law Office of Michael Monteforte Jr. in September 2006. I was licensed as a New York attorney in 2014. 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 incorporated it in 2017, and is now called Monteforte Law, P.C.
I am a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and am part of the Practice Development and Practice Management Section. Several times per year I attend the Medicare and Elder Law updates put on by the Foundation for Continuing Education and hold their Certificate in Trust & Estate Planning.
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 as well as daily coordination with my management team, Ashley Maiuri, who is the firm's Chief Operating Officer, and Nicole Rego, the firm’s Chief Marketing Officer. I am responsible for training our attorneys and sharing my expertise with them. I set the criteria we use to evaluate cases and make estate planning recommendations.
What does all that mean? What do I actually “do” all day? First, I look at every client’s estate planning as a problem that needs to be solved. I control the process we use to determine what estate plan to recommend to each client. I review and evaluate their assets, family situation, goals, and desires. My expertise lies in “solving” that client’s estate planning problem, and I determine what recommendations to make so that their estate plan achieves their goals. I pass those recommendations along to my team, who then begins the drafting work. I oversee the drafting process and am responsible for complicated drafting provisions. In many cases, 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.
What don’t I do? Not every estate plan is drafted by me, though I oversee all the drafting and I set the plan recommendations for each client. 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. I do not attend most of our initial Strategic Planning Sessions, and instead, I 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 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!
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 Laywer in Lowell 2021
- Published Author