I tell my husband all the time that I really love my job! After a 22 year career as a corporate attorney, I began my estate planning practice in 2000. It is hard for me to believe that I have actually drafted or revised over 700 estate plans! On the other hand, since I limit my practice to estate planning and probates, working on estates is pretty much all I do. As I reﬂected recently on this phase of my career, I realized how far I have come as an estate planning attorney. Following are some of the reasons I love the work I do.
I have found that people express a great sense of satisfaction and relief when they complete their estate plan. As I hand my clients their ﬁnished product, most of them comment “I am so relieved to have completed this work”. I also feel a sense of accomplishment knowing that I have helped my clients complete such an important task.
My “Estate Planning 101” column has been featured in the Pasadena Journal since 2004 and was in the Los Angeles Sentinel between 2009 and 2013. Many of my clients tell me that they cut out my column to keep for future reference and/or to send to a friend or relative. I appreciate the newspapers for providing a forum for sharing information needed in our community and I am proud and thankful to be able to provide this community service.
When I was a corporate attorney, I was a litigator. That meant that I was regularly involved in lawsuits seeking to either recover money or avoid liability for my corporate employer. One of the reasons I left the corporation was to avoid the stress and strain of litigation. Now, if it looks like the heirs of a deceased person are going to be fussing and ﬁghting over the inheritance, I quickly refer those cases to other attorneys. I love the fact that I don’t have to ﬁght with anyone over anything.
Because I often work with the elderly, I make “house calls” to clients who are home bound, living in assisted living facilities, or hospitalized. I thought that I would hate this aspect of my work, but often it has been a source of great joy for me. Those clients and their families are very appreciative of an attorney who makes house calls, knowing that there is likely no other way for them to complete their estate plan.
My husband warns me that sometimes I talk with my clients a little too much about topics unrelated to their estate plan while conducting their interviews, but I point out that meeting people and establishing a relationship is one of the best parts of my work. I have truly enjoyed meeting so many good, interesting and loving people who shared their stories, successes and hopes with me. For all of these reasons, I feel blessed to be in this ﬁeld of work. I’m in love!
© 2017 by Marlene S. Cooper. All rights reserved.
(Marlene S. Cooper, a graduate of UCLA, has been an attorney for over 35 years. Her practice is focused entirely on estate planning, estate administration and probate. You may obtain further information at www.marlenecooperlaw. com, by e-mail at Marlene@MarleneCooperLaw.com, by phone at (626) 791-7530 or toll free at (866) 702-7600. The information in this article is of a general nature and not intended as legal advice. Seek the advice of an attorney before acting or relying upon any information in this article).