FromWannabe Prosecutor to Estate Planner My 1-Week Turnaround
G rowing up, I loved watching “Law & Order,” but, more specifically, I enjoyed watching the lawyers in “Law & Order.” I remember being at my grandparents’ house during the summer, which was when they would babysit me. We watched “The Price Is Right” every single day, and “Law & Order”was always next on TV. I would end up watching it every day while I ate lunch. What fascinated me about the show, as dumb as it sounds, was the very end of each episode when the bad guy was found guilty and the prosecutor saved the day. It made me think lawyers must be pretty cool. That’s typical “kid logic” for you, but it left a lasting impression on me. “Law & Order” inspired me to become a lawyer, but I still had a lot to learn. In high school, my class had a mock trial in my senior year of government class. I was the prosecutor, and I was terrible. I wasn’t tough enough on the witnesses, even when they would lie to me in front of the entire school. I even had records to prove they were lying, but I was too nice. All I said was, “Oh, that’s interesting.” Perhaps I’m too soft. I’ve never been a big fan of adversarial work. I’ve always preferred working with others, not against them. Still, it wasn’t until later that I realized my true calling. Even though I was terrible at it, I remained focused on the goal of becoming the “Law & Order” attorney. I thought that I was headed into a life of litigation that involved fighting it out in front of a jury. Becoming an estate planning lawyer wasn’t on the radar at all. Then, while I was in college, my grandpa passed away. It was the first time I experienced someone close to me passing. Grandpa lived his life on his own terms all the way up until his death. He passed only a couple weeks after he was hospitalized.
My grandmother had a harder time. She had multiple strokes and ended up in an assisted living facility. When my grandpa was alive, they took excellent care of each other, but, after he was gone, my grandma needed a caretaker. My mom took care of all my grandmother’s medical decisions. Sadly, when a phone call came in at 3 o’clock in the morning, she was the person who had to get up and head to the hospital. At the time, I thought my mom had volunteered to take care of my grandma, and I admired her for that. Then, during my first week in law school, I suddenly realized that my grandparents purposefully took these steps to take care of their kids one last time. My grandparents had sat down with a professional and written up an estate plan that would make things a bit easier after they were gone.
was what I wanted to do. This was an area of law where I had the ability to do good for people. In estate planning, I’m not arguing against someone else, and winning a case doesn’t mean someone else loses. A client can come to me and say, “I want to make things easier for my spouse and children when I’m gone,” and I can help them do that. Nobody has to lose. In fact, I can work with the family to make sure that everyone wins. My decision to go into estate planning was the best choice I’ve ever made. I’ve helped more families than I ever thought possible. I never thought my practice would become this rewarding or that I would be able to help so many families. I am so lucky to have the privilege of helping my clients protect their loved ones every single day.
-Nick Ro senbauer
My focus immediately took a 180-degree turn. Within that one week, I knew estate planning
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