My dedication and commitment to the practice of law came to me during a difficult family situation.
After my grandmother suffered a massive stroke that left her incapacitated, my Dad worked hard to put her “legal house” in order for her benefit. My grandmother had a substantial sum of money and assets left to her from my grandfather. Like many families, my Dad was left to handle this matter; although he had brothers that could have helped.
To make a long story short, my Dad formed a Trust for my grandmother’s benefit and acted as the Trustee. He felt confident in assuming these responsibilities. My Dad said on more than one occasion, “Lawyers cost too much and rarely get anything done.” He was determined to protect my grandmother’s estate from uncaring attorneys and keep the assets in the family. But my Dad was not an attorney, and things did not end favorably.
Due to lack of experience and lack of support from my uncles, my Dad made some poor and risky choices. The result was that my grandmother lost nearly all of her money and assets. But far more costly than the time, money and emotional energy spent, was how my Dad lost himself in this process. My grandmother’s monthly healthcare needs were very expensive due to her incapacity from the stroke. The healthcare costs soon depleted the rest of her money. Dad did not want my grandmother to suffer, and he ended up paying for her comfort, care and medical expenses from his personal savings.
After my grandmother died, my uncles reappeared looking for a sizable inheritance. My Dad truthfully let them know that there was no money left to distribute. But his explanation did not satisfy them. My uncles chose to sue my Dad, even if it would bankrupt him, to pay them what they expected was their inheritance. The lawsuit was eventually dropped after a long, ugly process. But to this day, my Dad and his brothers do not speak at all.
The difficulty and stress was worse. My Dad and Mom ran their own small family business. It was their only source of income. I grew up watching my parents spend countless long hours to keep the business afloat. My family life revolved around it. The stress and embarrassment of the situation with my grandmother and my uncles greatly affected the ability of Dad and Mom to run their business. Again, they did not have proper counsel in legal, tax or financial matters. They did not know to whom they could turn and rely upon for advice. While the business did not fail, the struggle to make ends meet took its toll on themselves and on my family.
As you can imagine, this experience has never left me. It lives with me when I counsel individuals, families and businesses. I practice law to spare my clients the pain that I witnessed my father bear. Sound legal counsel is invaluable. It can save time, money and relationships between family and friends.
I believe in practicing law where the focus is on service and relationships. At my law firm, we help our clients with responsible planning because an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
LL.M. in Taxation, University of Florida College of Law
J.D., with honors, Capital University Law School
B.A., Miami University
State of Alabama
State of Florida
State of Mississippi
District of Columbia
U.S. Tax Court
U.S. Court of Federal Claims
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama
U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit