As the world becomes more complicated, professional services companies must become more specialized. At Goldberg Law Group, we respect the professional who learns a specific discipline and commits him or herself to the practice of that area. We find that when a professional focuses on one niche area two important things occur:
First, the individual quickly becomes an expert in his or her chosen field. It’s only natural that one chooses an area of expertise based on natural aptitude and interest. Therefore, the professional spends more time working in an area that she enjoys and is more receptive to learning the nuances and keeping abreast of new happenings in her space.
Second, the individual immediately becomes known in her chosen area. Her business becomes more focused and she begins to see patterns in the issues that come through her door. Due to her growing reputation, and subsequent increased volume and repetition, she becomes even more adept in her chosen field. At this point, sometimes the professional chooses to either laser focus on a smaller area of her specialty or broaden her focus while still staying specialized. For instance, in the area of elder law one may choose to focus on special needs trust planning or broaden his or her focus to incorporate not only elder law but also estate planning (as we have done).
We find that clients really enjoy working with targeted professionals. While there is nothing wrong with a company providing a “one stop shopping experience”, we believe that within that organization there should be individual specialists. Too often we see the inferior product of attorneys who dabble in elder law. Even though these professionals are well meaning, they often provide antiquated advice or miss important opportunities to plan.
One such example is an individual I met with late last year. An attorney recommended that his client transfer her home to her son in order to protect the client’s home from the possibility of a long term care need. Three years later, the elder is in need of a higher level of care and must sell her home to pay for her care. She will not be eligible for Medicaid for at least two years. However, since her son now owns her home he is unable to take advantage of the $250,000 capital gains exclusion available to homeowners who have lived in their homes for two of the last five years. The capital gains tax on the sale will be approximately $80,000. If mom still owned the home or had properly transferred it, there would be no capital gains tax. Had mom sought out an elder law attorney three years ago, rather than relying on a generalist, she would have avoided this unfortunate result.