Finding Meaning in Elder Law

By Kevin Pillon, CELA

I’m an elder law attorney in a Life Care Planning Law Firm. I have the best job in the world.

The first time I heard another elder law attorney make this claim was in 2012. I was brand new to Life Care Planning and was attending a seminar on the topic in Cleveland, Ohio. Tim Takacs, the elder law attorney who had created this philosophical approach to elder law, stood up in front of the group. “I have the best job in the world,” he announced. “I help people take care of their mom.”

Based on my interactions with other elder law attorneys who practice Life Care Planning, most of us feel the same way. We see our work as a calling, one that arrives after we’ve gone through the fire walk of caring for our own elderly loved ones. That’s how it happened for me. Elder care is an experience that changes people, and it changed me in a fundamental way. After my parents died, it took me awhile to find my professional footing again, and when I did, I realized that I couldn’t go back to the transactional estate planning practice that had once been enough for me. I needed to find something more.

For me and many other elder law attorneys across the country, Life Care Planning gives us that meaning.

Tim Takacs played a major role in helping hundreds of elder law attorneys find meaning in the practice of law. To me, Tim is like a superhero. I think he is one of the the best elder law attorneys in America—if not THE best. Tim has been influential in so many ways for so many people.

Tim’s central insight was this: Elder law without the care is an incomplete solution.

Think about the bold simplicity of this statement. Tim was the first elder law attorney to grasp this reality, and the first to build a practice model to accommodate it. Though Tim’s innovation was controversial in elder law circles, he continued to refine and perfect his approach. And he was willing to teach.

Over the years, Tim has allowed hundreds of elder law attorneys to visit his firm outside Nashville, Tennessee and watch him at work. I was one of those attorneys who benefited from his hospitality. My paralegal, Shannon Feinroth, and I spent two days shadowing Tim and his staff in October 2012.

Everyone in Tim’s office was very generous with their time and attention. Tim even bought us dinner. Without this generosity, it would have taken all of us meaning-hungry elder law attorneys a lot longer to figure out how to build successful Life Care Planning Law Firms.

Tim found that meaning, and then he shared it with the rest of us. I, for one, am very grateful.

Kevin Pillon is a Certified Elder Law Attorney and founder of Life Planning Law Firm, a Life Care Planning Law Firm with offices in Sarasota and North Port, Florida.