For attorney Rachel Truhlsen, law is second nature.
Rachel, founder of Truhlsen Elder Care Law of Nebraska, a Life Care Planning Law Firm in Blair, Nebraska, has been in and around law since she was a teenager. “I grew up in Omaha in a neighborhood with four attorneys living on the same block,” she remembered. “When I turned 16, one of them invited me to do some clerical work and that's when I first became exposed to the practice of law.”
After high school, Rachel went to college, first studying psychology and then shifting her focus to accounting. “Psychology was attractive to me because I’ve always had a desire to help people,” she said. “I ended up with a degree in business administration with an accounting background.”
Instead of taking the CPA path, Rachel decided to go to law school. “I'm a problem solver, and becoming a lawyer seemed like the best way to help people,” she said. “When I was doing the work for that lawyer in my neighborhood, I understood the procedure of it but the why behind it and being able to interact with the people and understand their story was the part that was missing.”
After law school, Rachel went to work for a firm that focused on estate planning, estate and trust administration, and tax work. With her accounting and tax background, it was a natural fit.
In 1996, less than a year after graduating from law school, Rachel was ready to strike out on her own. For the next two decades, she would build a thriving business doing estate planning, estate and trust administration, and the occasional business planning for clients. “I chose those practice areas because I wanted to have a family and I knew that I would have more control over my schedule,” she noted. “I didn’t want a law practice where I would have to be in court all the time.”
Rachel’s first exposure to Life Care Planning happened in 2012 when she opened an issue of Nebraska Lawyer Magazine and discovered an article by Life Care Planning founder Tim Takacs. Intrigued, she looked into the concept and learned that experience as an elder law attorney was required to qualify for training offered by the Life Care Planning Law Firms Association. Rachel didn’t have that experience, and her life circumstances at the time presented challenges. “My kids were little, and I just couldn’t add any more to my plate,” she remembered. “But about five years ago, I was at a Medicaid planning seminar, and they talked about the elder law practice and what that all involves. And I thought, that is really what I want to do.”
The timing was right. Rachel’s clients were coming to her with questions of all kinds, including concerns about care. “You build these relationships over 20 years and you're the trusted person people call when they have a problem,” she said. “If I couldn’t resolve their issue, I would have to refer them to someone else.”
Now, as a Life Care Planning Law Firm with an interdisciplinary staff that includes an elder care coordinator, Rachel and her staff can answer all the difficult questions that can arise during the elder care journey. “I’m a problem solver by nature and I enjoy being able to help my clients address the problems that really tug at their heart strings,” she added. “It makes such a difference.”