Please join me in welcoming estate planning attorney Pamela Maass Garrett for an interview today. Pamela is the CEO and Founder of Law Mother LLC, and she wrote the international bestseller Legally Ever After: Estate Planning for Parents. The book provides an actionable guide for parents to make estate planning easier, breaking it down into six steps, with the overarching goal of protecting their children’s future. I asked Pamela about her career, how estate planning helps parents protect their children, and the six steps to doing so, all in this interview.
Disclosure: This sponsored interview showcases a book that helps parents get started with estate planning and explains why this action is so important.
Interview with Pamela Maass Garrett
You’ve heard of “happily ever after” from the fairy tales you probably read as a kid. Pamela Maass Garrett takes her book title and alters the wording to Legally Ever After. This title is clever as it points out how an estate plan can help parents protect their kids’ future and assets while building their legacy.
To start the interview, I ask Pamela about her experience in the legal field. From there, we begin to talk about estate planning for parents of kids under 18 and those with adult children. Here is our conversation.
Welcome, Pamela. Can you please share a bit about your legal experience?
I started my legal career as a Deputy District Attorney in Boulder, Colorado. One of my first cases as a DDA involved a tragedy: young parents were killed in a car crash leaving behind two young boys. I got to know the surviving family members, who were loving people who banded together for the criminal case. However, I later found out that the family spent years in probate court fighting over who would raise the boys. The conflict could have been avoided if someone would have given this young couple access to basic legal planning tools.
I saw this same pattern over and over in the last ten years of my legal practice. But it didn’t hit home until my own family went through it. A family member of mine passed away, and there were a lot of conflicts. The conflict that could have been avoided with some simple legal planning with my family members early on.
It was through these experiences that I realized that there was a major unmet need. Many people my age, young professionals in their 30s and 40s, didn’t have access to basic legal planning tools to protect their loved ones and keep them out of court and conflict. This inspired me to launch my law firm. To take my experiences litigating conflict to help families protect their loved ones and keep them out of court and conflict.
You saw a need and met it, forming your law firm. That is inspiring and courageous! You help families protect loved ones. But why do parents often avoid talking about estate planning with their kids?
There can be a lot of reasons why parents avoid estate planning conversations with their kids. One reason may be that they don’t want to think about their own mortality.
Another reason may be that they don’t want to deal with the potential conflict and disagreement that could come up among family members about what should happen with their estate. Some parents may also feel like they are imposing on their kids by asking them to make decisions about their estate while they are still alive.
Ultimately, though, it is important for parents to have these conversations with their kids so that everyone is on the same page about what will happen when they pass away and to protect their children.
How exactly can estate planning help parents protect their children?
There are a few ways that estate planning can help protect children. First, estate planning can help ensure that children will have a guardian appointed to care for them if something happens to their parents.
Additionally, estate planning can help ensure that children will receive their parents’ assets in a way that is most advantageous for them. Finally, estate planning can help parents ensure that their children are taken care of financially even after they are gone.
What is one thing you wish more parents knew about estate planning?
That it is never too late to plan for the future and that everyone can benefit from estate planning, regardless of their age or wealth.
Pamela, what inspired you to write Legally Ever After?
I was inspired to write Legally Ever After because clients kept asking me for a resource to share estate planning with their friends and family. I noticed that many of the books on the market were focused on retirees, and there was nothing that covered the needs of both young and retired parents.
I also wanted to write a book that would inspire people to take action and get their estate planning done. Too often, people put it off because they think they don’t have enough money or they don’t know where to start.
I wanted to show people that it’s not as difficult as they think and that there are many options available to them. Most importantly, I wanted to write a book that would help people feel confident that they are taking care of their loved ones both during their lifetime and after they’re gone.
Who is Legally Ever After intended for?
This book is intended for Parents, Grandparents, Adopted Parents, and Non-Traditional Parents of minor and adult children.
In the book, you outline a 6-step process using the acronym LEGACY. What does this acronym stand for?
The goal of this book is to provide you with a roadmap to protect your children’s future and happiness through L.E.G.A.C.Y., a six-step plan:
L – Legal Guardians
E – Economic Support
G – Guidance
A – Asset Protection
C – Carry Through, Communicate & Update
Y – Your Family Legacy
For each step, do you provide tools or tips in the book that parents can use? If so, please provide an example.
The book contains helpful tools and tips. One example is the table below, which explains the difference between a Will and a Living Trust.
That’s very useful! Thank you for being here, Pamela, to encourage family conversations about estate planning.
Legally Ever After is an easy-to-understand book and has become an international best-seller. Author Pamela Maass Garrett helps parents protect their children’s future and their legacy by providing a six-step process in this book.
Get your copy of Legally Ever After at Amazon or through the Law Mother website.
Connect further with Pamela Maass Garrett online
For more information, contact Law Mother, the estate planning law firm where Pamela is the Founder and CEO. Schedule an appointment, find out who is on the team, and read about their services.
Top photo: Meet Pamela Maass Garrett. Photo was taken by Kacey Cole.