Meet Christal, Attorney

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When my son was in a local co-operative preschool, I remember a conversation with several other moms while our two and three year olds were playing outside on the toys.

I can’t remember exactly how it started, but at one point in the conversation a mom asked the rest of us if we had an estate plan for our families, and if it could be explained to her what was to even be put in place. I remember thinking, “Oh my goodness! Yes, I do know what should be in place, but I don’t have it in place!”

The ridiculous part of this story is that, at that time, I was working in a Tacoma law firm assisting other families with estate plans! I knew how important it was to have this plan properly documented and could even picture my notebook at home where I had an ongoing list of “Family Miscellaneous Items,” one of the listed tasks being to “Create Our Estate Plan.”

It seemed this item kept getting moved down the list, but never getting crossed off.

After enjoying some years now of knowing we do have a current estate plan in place, I was surprised to experience another scramble this past summer, not for my husband and myself, but for our college-bound daughter.

I knew when she turned 18 just before high school graduation, she would need her own power of attorney and other legal documents, and joked with her that this would be her 18th birthday present! I thought we were set in these areas! However, even after attending the college and financial planning workshops and admitted student sessions at her college, I started discovering items that had not been covered at these events, items necessary to properly address her health care and financial matters as a newly-turned adult. And, so, despite best efforts, we experienced an “end-of-summer scramble” the last days before her college move-in day.

These personal experiences have inspired the direction of my legal practice.

My first job after graduating from law school was serving as a tax attorney with the Department of Treasury, litigating cases in Tax Court. With my undergraduate degree including math and statistics, this “working with numbers” position was perfect. Ultimately becoming involved in the estate tax group in this position, I began to also gain experience in issues around estates. I later moved into a position with a private law firm, where I primarily focused on tax and estate planning matters.

Having seen the issues that can develop in these areas, what I most enjoyed about moving into private practice was the ability to advise individuals how to not end up in situations I had seen in my prior job!

After spending some time at home with my children, engaging in community, school, and non-profit work, I had always planned I would go back to a private law firm. However, as I spent some time talking with other attorneys, to my surprise, I found myself most inspired by the solo practitioners with whom I spoke.

More than other attorneys, the first topic raised and highlighted by every solo practitioner was the relationship they had with their clients. I loved that!

I was also inspired to utilize all I had learned personally as a mom to create unique plans that more realistically address the real everyday concerns that arise for parents. And, so, the estate planning collections I have created are largely from my own personal experiences of being a mom combined with my legal experiences in the areas of estate planning and tax.

Sharing all I have learned, as well as coming alongside others to hear their story and create customized plans to care for what matters most to them is a highlight for me. My hope is for this to be a place where you might find answers to your questions, clarity for what is needed, encouragement that putting a plan in place is do-able, and greater peace knowing you have this part of parenting covered.