Is Monteforte Law, P.C. the right fit for you?
It took me twenty years of being a lawyer to realize that we are not the right fit for everyone and to realize that that’s okay. When I decided to specialize in estate planning and elder law, while eliminating other areas of my practice, I was cutting out a huge section of our potential “audience” and narrowing down the group of people that we help.
For a long time, I basically felt that we could be the right fit for “anyone that needs a Will” or any other type of estate planning. But as I became more and more invested in specializing and honing my expertise, I realized a few things: First, everyone has different problems and goals when it comes to their planning. Second, not everyone has the goals and problems that my expertise is designed to solve. In order for me to be the most helpful, I have to focus on the people that most need my help. Those people that my expertise can benefit the most.
While almost everyone could benefit from some form of estate planning, the specialized problems that we solve have to do with wealth protection, passing wealth to the next generation, avoiding estate taxes, legacy, MassHealth long-term care applications, veterans planning, and protecting your home from long-term care costs. Those are very specialized problems, that require specialized training and expertise to solve.
While every person might have some sort of estate planning problem, not everyone’s problems rise to the level that they need someone like me or the experts at my firm to solve it. If you have a cold, you can go see your primary care doctor. But if you are a pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, and you need shoulder surgery, you go to a specialized surgeon. My firm is that surgeon. When people come to us and all they have is a cold, we refer them to a competent and affordable colleague from our referral network. That’s because you don’t need us to cure your cold – you can get that cure elsewhere, faster and cheaper. Instead, our firm focuses on the big problems that need surgery – passing down wealth, preserving wealth, protecting elders from long-term care, MassHealth long-term care, and avoiding estate taxes.
Our focus is much different from a general practitioner that can also do “Wills” along with 3-4 other practice areas. Those firms are fine if you have a cold. A cold can be cured fast and cheaply. If you need surgery, you come to us. Surgery takes longer, it costs more, and it is a continuous process of updating and changing your plan as your life changes. But at the same time, it solves a MAJOR problem in your life, the right way, and accomplishes your goals in the most effective way.
Essentially, we are a small, boutique firm that specializes in solving a specific set of problems for specific clients. We are small enough that we still have that “family feel” but big enough and efficient enough to create complex solutions in a reasonable time. We look to create long-term relationships with our clients, that stretch over years, rather than just a “transactional” relationship that ends when you sign your documents.
Problem-solving is what I do. I am the strategic planner for my firm. I look at each client and family as a unique set of factors, and I create a plan to solve that family’s problems and achieve their goals. Then my staff, including an amazing attorney that has been trained by me, put my plan into action by drafting and working through my prescribed plan with the client.
How do you know if you need surgery, or if you only have a cold?
Below is a list of factors to consider. The bottom line is that we specialize in higher net worth clients because those clients have the problems that our expertise will solve. You need to have a certain amount of wealth before you are worried about passing that wealth down to the next generation and dealing with estate tax issues. While you certainly don’t have to be rich to have estate tax problems (far from it, especially in Massachusetts!), you do need to have a certain level of assets. Our practice is designed specifically for higher net worth families that want to keep their money in their own pockets, not the government’s, and pass their assets down through generations. Because our firm is one of the most sought-after estate planning and elder law firms in the area, we cater exclusively to those clients, and we are very particular about who we choose to work with.
If you’re not at that level of wealth, there’s nothing wrong with that, and I can send you to a much cheaper “doctor” to cure your cold. But if you need the surgery, we are the right law firm for you.
How do you know if you’re a fit for our firm and if we can give you the “surgery” you need?
Here’s a checklist to help you:
- Do you earn more than $100,000 per year?
- Do you own a home that is paid off, or almost paid off?
- Do you own a business?
- Do you have a vacation home or a rental property?
- Do you have assets in multiple states?
- Do your assets, including the value of your home and the value of life insurance death benefits, total over $1 Million?
- Do you have a Trust?
- Are you the trustee or beneficiary of a Trust?
- Do you have children under age 21 and you want them to inherit your assets? Are children under age 21 beneficiaries of your life insurance?
- Do you have children or loved ones with special needs?
- Do you want to avoid estate taxes?
- Do you want to control the way your assets are left to your family, and pass down your wealth and legacy to the next generation?
- Do you want to protect your home from long-term care in a nursing home?
- Are you applying for MassHealth long-term care benefits, either for in-home care through a frail elder waiver, or facility-based care in a nursing home?
If you answered yes to at least THREE of those questions, then you should be consulting an attorney with specialized knowledge. In other words, your estate needs “surgery” and therefore, your estate needs us. Let me and my team of “doctors” fix you up.