A Message From Michelle Goff
As a mother of two active children, I know how busy life can be in trying to balance work, family responsibilities, married life, children’s school and extracurricular activities, and personal time for myself. It is so easy to procrastinate on doing important things for ourselves, such as spending time with our families, working out, volunteering, or more importantly, like making sure our spouse and children are protected in the event of our incapacity or death.
In fact, most parents I meet have not prepared a will or legally named a guardian for their minor children. We all read the articles in parenting magazines when we are expecting or have young children about how important it is to get our wills written and guardians named, but then life gets in the way. Often it is because we are unable to agree on who would be the best surrogate for our children should we die while they are young. That is ok, choose the best person at the present moment and remember that documents can easily be changed as life and relationships change! One of my favorite clients waited until they were both in their late 80’s getting ready to celebrate their 63rd anniversary to get their estate plan in place. Yes, they waited quite some time, but they got it accomplished before they needed it.
Reasons for not getting an estate plan in place vary from client to client, but often it is because 1) we don’t have an estate (I just heard from a friend that they didn’t need an estate plan as they were worth less than $5 million). This is a common misnomer. The $5m (currently $5.49m in 2017) number being thrown around is a generic threshold for paying ESTATE TAXES to the government, not a benchmark to needing basic estate planning documents. Another common excuse is 2) we don’t have the time or money. Well, with my new online platform, lack of time is no longer an issue. The web-based nature of my practice now allows my clients to communicate with me any time it is convenient for them through a secure Internet web page. No longer do clients have to take time out of their busy days to schedule appointments during “traditional” office hours. Further, as for clients saying lack of funds is an issue, now that I don’t have a costly office space to maintain, I am able to keep my overhead low and provide clients exceptional legal services at reasonable rates. I also accept ACH payment and most forms of credit now, which can help defer the cost of getting an estate plan prepared.
There are so many different estate planning documents, all for various purposes, that most clients, regardless of their net worth, need something. If you are young and unmarried, you may just need a simple will, financial power of attorney and health care directive. If you are established with children, you own real estate, and have large stock portfolios, we may need to establish trusts and do tax planning. I find great personal and professional satisfaction in helping my clients create estate plans tailored to their specific needs.
I strive to create lasting relationships with my clients. As an estate planning attorney, I find that many clients see me as the family attorney, the “go-to” person when legal questions arise. I believe this is because clients seeking my assistance see my services not as a defense, but rather as a genuine desire to protect their loved ones.
Areas of Practice
Education and Affiliations
- Michelle is admitted to practice before all California Courts, as well as before the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California, and the U.S. Tax Court.
- CSUS, MBA in Taxation and MBA in Business, 2002
- Admitted to the California State Bar Association in June, 1998
- J.D., McGeorge School of Law, 1997
- B.S. in Economics & Business, Westmont College 1993
- Recipient of the Sacramento 2011 Wealth Manager Award and 2011 Rising Star
- Member of BBN – Business to Business Networking of Sacramento
Past and Current Speaking Engagements
- Regular speaker to clients of various financial planners
- Guest Speaker for Golden One Credit Union Members
- Speaker at various Churches and organizations