I have written before about what is mobile estate planning, but I still get questions on this topic. Questions like: Why would you want to do mobile estate planning? Where do you go and what do you do? How did you get started? Why don’t more people do mobile visits like you? I can answer some of these questions, but other answers elude me, like how can I know why more attorneys don’t make visits like me. Perhaps the other attorneys are just so busy they cannot get out of the office, or perhaps they don’t want to go visit someone at their home. Since I am not someone else, I cannot say why other people decide what to do. I am not a mind reader, as much as some people want me to be.
I can only explain why I do mobile estate planning, and why I think it serves an important purpose. First and foremost, I enjoy helping people get their estate plans done, and that sometimes requires me to go visit people where they are. My office is great, but it is not always the closest place to where people live or work. I also have found that some people cannot get out to see me as easily as I can come to see them. If I can go visit someone where they are, then I have a much better chance of being able to help them. Since helping others to get their estate plans done is what I like to do, being a mobile estate planning attorney lets me fulfill that goal.
What Does It Mean to be a “Mobile” Estate Planning Attorney?
The easiest way to explain what I mean by “mobile” estate planning is that I will come to see you. I make house calls, or I will meet you at one of my many locations around Denver, including my home office in Broomfield. Everybody needs a home base, and my Broomfield office has filing cabinets and a printer. Those are important things for an attorney to have, so I keep them at my Broomfield office, where I can lock everything up safely. If I have someone who lives in Southeast Aurora near Parker, Colorado Springs, or Fort Collins, I don’t want to make them drive to see me in Broomfield. I have offices closer to those other locations, so I can meet people closer to them, or I am perfectly willing to visit people at their homes.
Of course, that means that when someone calls me, I might be driving between appointments, so I cannot check the computer or print something out right away, but I am able to discuss things as I am traveling between appointments. So long as everybody understands that I am on the road a lot, we can all work together to get what you need done in a timely manner.
Why Did I Become a Mobile Estate Planning Attorney?
When I first struck out on my own as a mobile estate planning attorney and started my own practice, I worked with a lot of people who lived in senior living situations, assisted living, skilled nursing, independent senior living, and the like. Many of these people lived in such places because they had physical or other limitations that prevented them from getting around easily, and if I went to see them, it made getting their estate plans done much easier for them.
There is a senior living community about 5 minutes from my office under normal traffic conditions. I have many clients there. If I drive down to see them, I can travel to see them, take an hour to meet with them, and be back to my office 5 minutes after I am done, so the entire process takes an hour and 15 minutes, or so. If they were to try to come see me, most would need to arrange for a special mobility bus to come pick them up, and the process could take 20 – 30 minutes to get the bus, get them on the bus, get them off the bus, and then the same would be true on the way back to where they live. So, if I had these folks come to me, it would be a 2 hour, or longer, process. I am glad to be able to help these people, yet take less time and make a more pleasant experience for everyone involved.
I also found that when I met with people where they lived, either in their apartments, or in a conference room at the senior living facility, the people tended to be much more relaxed and comfortable. If people were more comfortable, they would share information about their lives more freely, which helped me do my work better. If I found out they were a veteran, I could discuss the available VA Aid and Attendance benefit for wartime veterans, or I could help these folks plan ahead to protect assets from Medicaid. The more at ease people were, the better I could help them, and visiting them where they were would help make that happen.
Can A Mobile Estate Planning Help People Who Are Running Out of Time?
I also make house calls to people who are quite sick, or who are running out of time. Back in January of 2019, I lost my puppy dog. The next day, as I was very sad, I got information that I had been waiting on for a couple of weeks, which I used to help get an estate plan completed for a client who was quite ill. I went to visit the client the day after to get her documents signed, so less than 36 hours after I lost my doggie I was at their house getting documents signed. This particular client was a husband and a wife, and the wife passed away less than 48 hours after we got everything signed. I was glad that I was able to get the documents signed, so that the husband was in a good position to mourn his wife without needing to worry about the financial aspects of his wife’s death until he was ready. I wanted to mourn my little dog, but these clients needed my help and a delay would have resulted in the documents not being done on time.
Just last week, I met with someone who has liver cancer and is unable to leave her house. I knew she did not have a lot of time left, so I ended up drafting the documents as I sat with her (an unusual procedure, but what needed to be done!), and then I found a printer, got her documents printed, and signed them later that same day. I usually prefer to not get things done in one day, but if that is what needs to happen, I can make that work when I go visit people where they are.
What About People Who Live Far Away…How Can You Help Them?
I have plenty of clients who live in Evergreen, Conifer, Estes Park, Bennett, Strasburg, Elizabeth, or other places that are a bit away from the Denver Metro area…or even up in Fort Collins, or down in Colorado Springs. Those clients might not appreciate needing to drive an hour to see me. I am happy to drive an hour to see them, as I appreciate the drive and the chance to help someone. Of course, even driving around the Denver Metro area can take more than an hour based on traffic conditions…as we all know from our time driving around the city. I remember that when I first started driving at age 16, I could get from my house in Fort Collins to South Denver in a little over an hour. I really don’t see that happening with current traffic patterns in Denver now!
Instead, I will set up appointments in clusters, so that I can be on one side of the city for a day, thereby minimizing drive time, and maximizing convenience for those I meet. The easier I can make it on you, the better it works for both of us. I think that is what they call a win-win!
Let Mobile Estate Planning Work for You!
I feel like I exhort everyone to get their estate planning done early – before a crisis hits – every time I write a blog post, and this one is no different. Let me help you get your estate plan done! We can meet at your house, at one of my offices, or at a park, or even in a virtual meeting. By having me come to see you where it is most convenient for you, I can minimize the time it takes for you to get your estate plan done. Whether that just saves you time, or you are running out of time, me visiting you where you are can only help. Let me come see you and get your estate plan done, whether you are mobile, or not!
We’re here to help.
Michael Bailey can meet at any of 15 office locations in Colorado!