Hi, and welcome to PersonalFamilyLawyer.com. My name is Ali Katz, and I’m a mom, a lawyer and the author of the best-selling book on legal planning for families, called Wear Clean Underwear.
Yes, it’s a funny name for a book, but you’ll want to read it, because it will guide you to the important legal planning steps you need to take in case you are in an accident. Wearing clean underwear is no longer enough once you are a parent there’s important legal planning steps you need to take to ensure the well-being and care of the people you love most.
I created this website for you because I know how hard it is to find a lawyer who will take care of you and your family the right way, helping you to make wise legal and financial decisions throughout your lifetime.
There’s so much confusing, and often conflicting, information out there when it comes to legal, insurance, financial and tax decisions for you and your family. And, so often, you can’t tell if you are getting sold something you don’t need so someone can make a quick buck or if you are making the wisest decisions for yourself and the people you love.
I get it. I’m a mom of teenagers, and the daughter of an aging mom and stepmom. Plus, a business owner myself, and for many years I too found it all very confusing.
When I was in law school, my father in law died, and he had spent $3k on an estate plan to keep his family out of court and out of conflict with his ex-wife only for us to be stuck in court and in conflict with his ex-wife, not to mention the huge fights over all of his personal possessions that weren’t handled properly. At the time, I thought the lawyer he had used must have committed malpractice, for sure.
It was only after I went to work at one of the very best law firms in the country that I found out that my father in law’s lawyer hadn’t committed malpractice, it was common practice. His lawyer had created form documents for our family that didn’t actually work when our family needed them because his assets weren’t owned in the right way, and his plan was never kept up to date.
My father in law had died, thinking his estate plan was done, with a fancy binder on his bookshelf only for us to find out when it was too late to do anything about it that what had been done was never updated.
Most lawyers don’t even track their clients assets, resulting in billions of dollars being lost to the state department of unclaimed property, lost because their loved ones didn’t even know what there was, or how to find it.
And, that’s just the financial piece. Most estate plans only focus on the transfer of financial wealth, but what about the intellectual, spiritual and human assets, our values, insights, stories and experience that are most often lost when you or your loved one dies.
Like the voicemail my dad left me before he died. “Lex, it’s your dad. Call me back” I listened to that voicemail often. Until the day it was accidentally erased, and I realized I would never hear his voice again. Let alone the stories and experiences my children would never get to hear. His estate plan did nothing to pass on those assets.
I swore I would do it differently, as soon as I could.
And that desire only intensified when I was out to dinner with my husband when my daughter was just a year or so old. And as I sat across from him, it dawned on me that even though we had a will in place, and even a trust, and we had named guardians for her that if anything happened to us our baby would be taken out of our home and into the care of strangers.
You see, she was home with our 16-year old babysitter, and everyone I had named as guardians lived thousands of miles away, across the country. And no one would be able to find my Will anyway, as it was locked away in the safe. And what if we didn’t die, but just became incapacitated and my Will didn’t even work because it only works if we die?
Then, she could have ended up in the care of our nearest relative, a family member of my husband’s who I would never want taking care of my daughter, not even for a minute.
And I nearly choked on my food to realize how poorly lawyers were planning for the needs of parents with young kids at home.
I think it was then and there that I decided i had to leave the big law firm and start my own law practice. But that wasn’t enough because what about all the families across the world I couldn’t serve myself.
I had to make sure they were being cared for in the right way.
The pressure intensified and perhaps hit a breaking point that led me into creating my own law firm, even after never imagining I would be a business owner myself, when my mother in law died and despite having an estate plan in place, I found myself in a storage unit with my husband and his sister in the midst of a huge fight.
Had they had a trusted advisor guiding them, that conflict could have been avoided altogether.
And then I remembered back to when I had first started at the big law firm and was approached by an insurance agent who convinced me to buy insurance that was simply not right for my family, but paid him a big commission.
Most lawyers go to law school to make a difference in their clients lives, and yet the traditional legal model doesn’t generally support that -- instead it focuses on billable hours, billed in 6-minute increments, forms and documents that often do not work when your family needs them, and telling you what you need instead of guiding you to make informed, empowered financial and legal decisions that are in the best interest of your family.
Today, I train the Personal Family Lawyers you will meet here on this website in a new way, a better way, to serve you and your family through all of life’s stages, to ensure you have a plan in place for your family that will truly work when they need it.
And I train our lawyers to ensure that the planning they do for you is truly affordable, so it’s not just the financially wealthy that benefit while the rest of us get stuck in Court and conflict losing more and more of our assets.
When you work with a Personal Family Lawyer®, your planning begins with a Family Wealth Planning Session™, during which you’ll get more financially organized than you’ve ever been before, to ensure none of your assets are lost to the state department of unclaimed property in the event of your incapacity or death.
Also, during this session, your Personal Family Lawyer® will guide you to understand what would happen to your assets and the people you love, if and when you can’t be there, so you can make informed and empowered choices for your life and for after you are gone. And during this Session, you’ll only engage in planning if the cost to do so would be less than the cost of not having a plan in place. You’ll decide based on what’s right for you.
And when you do create a life and death plan, your Personal Family Lawyer® will ensure your assets are owned in the right way and that your plan is kept up to date throughout your lifetime.
Best of all, your Personal Family Lawyer® won’t just focus on your financial assets, but will ensure your family also receives your intellectual, spiritual and human assets, and comes together in harmony after you are gone, rather than conflict.
All of this is done for you under a flat fee structure that you choose based on your needs and desires, so there’s never any hourly fees or surprise invoices. This way you can ensure your planning stays up to date as your life changes, the law changes, and your assets change without being afraid to call your lawyer because you might get a surprise invoice in the mail.
When you are working with a Personal Family Lawyer®, you know you have a trusted advisor on your side who has your back, throughout your lifetime.
As I mentioned, I’m a mom myself and I know that the planning you’ll do with your Personal Family Lawyer® isn’t just for you -- although it will ensure that you are making all the best decisions throughout your lifetime -- it’s for the people you love most.
So if you want to ensure you make the best decisions for yourself throughout your lifetime, and then ensure the people you love, in the event of your incapacity or your death, have everything they need and it’s all as easy as possible, find a lawyer on our site and meet with him or her for a Family Wealth Planning Session™ (or review of your existing plan) today.