Jeff Fouts: “Estate-planning attorney Jeff Fouts here. I like options. I know you do too. When I go to buy a tie or something, I like a lot of different options. I noticed one time when I was in the grocery store, that there were a lot of different kinds of peanut butter. It’s shocking if you think about it. You go in there and you look for yourself.
There’s 20, 30, maybe 40 different kinds of peanut butter. My goodness. It’s pretty amazing, pretty neat. In estate planning, we have options too. What are some of those options? Well, there’s a number of them, and I’ll name them. Number one, you could go to a general-practitioner attorney.
You could go to an attorney that does divorces on Monday, criminal on Tuesday for example, and disability on Friday, and he does a will or she does a will every now and then. Now, these people are very nice, and they’re intelligent. They have indeed passed the state bar examination, but they’re general practitioners. They do a will every three weeks. They do maybe a revocable living trust every three months.
They’ve never even heard of an IRA trust or an IRS-approved trust for your 401K money. They’ve never heard of that. Well, that’s group. Then the next group are the attorneys in the very, very large firms, maybe 100, 200-attorney law firms, and they are very, very talented. These large law firms have their own unit for each major area of law practice, and these law firms for have an estate planning unit, and the attorneys in those estate planning units for sure do quality estate planning.
The attorneys in these large law firm’s estate planning units have most certainly heard of IRA trust and IRS-approved retirement plan protection trust. They know about them. Then there’s a group of attorneys in the middle, and that’s the group I’m in. Those law firms are what are called ’boutique law firms’. These boutique law firm attorneys are not general practitioner attorneys. They don’t practice ‘door law’, which means they don’t take just any case that comes through their door. Those are an attorney that have limited their practice area to usually only one or two areas of the law. That’s all they do. Attorney in boutique law firm don’t practice in another area of law except that area of the law – for us its estate planning.
Monday through Friday, estate planning law is all we do. Because we have learned that it’s only by limiting which areas we practice law in that we can become more of a specialist at it. General practitioner attorneys can never really be experts at one particular area of law.
We don’t do any divorces. No criminal law. No disability. Estate planning is it. We think it’s important that you go to an attorney (or doctor or mechanic) that knows exactly what they’re doing in your particular area of need. A specialist knows all the options in that particular area of the law. Don’t make the mistake of going to someone just because they’re conveniently located to you, or just because their prices are cheap or because they’re in your pre-paid legal plan. Yes, those are all possible options, but you need to select the option that is labeled ‘know how to diagnose even the things I haven’t thought about and know all the available options’.”