Estate Planning with Richard Seff

Estate Planning with Richard Seff

Today's discussion is about estate planning with our guest Richard Seff. Tune in to hear about issues involving trusts, probate, and other issues related to estate planning from an industry expert with over 20 years of experience.


Estate Planning with Richard Seff
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Richard M. Seff
Family Planning Law Center

After graduating from Southwestern University School of Law, Richard Seff went to work for a well respected estate planning law firm. His goal was to become becoming a trusted advisor to his clients.  Having been a social worker, his passion had always been about empowering families.  "But what I quickly discovered," states Seff, was that the personal lawyer relationship I had envisioned no longer exists in today’s age of billable hours."

Seff continues, "At $400/hour, billing my time in six minute increments, very few people were willing to pay for anything more than fast form documents that gave them the feeling of having done the right thing, but as I found out, far too often accomplished nothing at all.

My second year of law school, my grandfather died and we found ourselves in the middle of a long and expensive court process even though my grandfather had worked with a lawyer on their estate planning.  Turns out, this lawyer had never transferred my grandfather’s assets into his trust and hadn’t made sure my grandfather did it either.  At the time, I thought he must have committed malpractice.  When I went to work as a lawyer, it was a shock for me to discover that all the best firms throughout the United States do it the same way.  Malpractice?  No, common practice!

And, even when a lawyer did his job of re-titling his client’s assets, more often than not I discovered most (if not all) of them would “fall out of the trust” within 3-5 years of signing the trust documents.  That means the trust fails.

And, as a dad, it dawned on me that traditional estate planning documents did nothing to protect my children from being taken out of my home and into the foster care system if I died or went into the hospital.

So, I decided to start my own practice to focus on serving people who want to guarantee their plan will work when their family needs it most and appreciate knowing we will be there to advise their family when they can’t be.  People who expect things to change throughout their lifetime and want a trusted advisor to guide them through those changes.  People who are busy, love kids and want to leave the world a better place.     

Before becoming a lawyer in 1990, I earned a Master’s Degree in Social Work and treated adolescents and families.  Then I got another Master’s Degree in Health Care Administration from George Washington University and was a hospital administrator."

E-Mail:    Phone: 805-230-1127

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