Robert L. Shepard graduated from New College of California, School of Law, in May 1998 and gained an advanced degree at Golden Gate University’s LLM masters program in taxation. Robert L. Shepard’s practice is focused on preventative law. With a new and forward-thinking process, Shepard has helped over 1,000 clients protect and ensure their assets get passed onto the next generation with minimal government interference.
Passare Expert Series Kickoff | Robert Shepard
Welcome to the Passare Expert Series, a forum where we give our panel of experts an opportunity to speak directly to you. We want to kick things off by introducing Passare contributor Robert Shepard, a preventative law attorney who is an expert on Estate Planning, Wills and Trusts.
Robert will advise you on all estate-planning issues, from drafting documents and trust administration to navigating probate court.
Passare: Welcome Robert, we are pleased to have you as a Passare contributing partner. Tell me a little about your practice?
Robert: Thanks for inviting me to participate in the Passare Expert Series. The first question most people ask me when they find out what I do is “What are the benefits of having an estate plan?” I tell them anyone can benefit from having one.
Passare: Are estate plans for everyone?
Robert: No matter the size of your estate, everyone has their own individual wishes and unless they are properly expressed in the right estate plan, their wishes are not going to get carried out. If you are thinking about planning your estate, it often helps to know what motivates other people to plan theirs.
Passare: Why do people typically contact you?
Robert: Clients contact me for many reasons but the three main ones are tied to significant life milestones or passages.
A Loved One Passes Away – The number one thing that brings people in to see me is a parent or grandparent has passed away who didn’t have an estate plan. Usually they come in after they went through a disaster and the experience made them realize what a catastrophe it is when you don’t have a plan in place. This scenario can strike a person of any age. Many clients say to me, “Don’t let this happen to me” so often times, I will see an entire family come in to get an estate plan.
A Couple Has a Baby – I have a lot of clients who come see me after they have a child. They realize having an estate plan is a responsible part of being a parent and decide they want to get life insurance and a trust in place. Many will say they want their assets to be passed on to their child but how can they make sure that happens if they were to pass away when their child is only 3-years-old?
A Couple Buys a Home - The next thing that brings people into my office is when someone buys a new house. I have a fair number of clients who are couples just starting out who want to put an estate plan in place.
Passare: How does Passare’s service offering mesh with your business goals?
Robert: Passare's mission is identical to my business goals in that we both provide comprehensive information about a topic that affects us all. While my practice focuses on Estate Planning, Passare's scope is much broader and more comprehensive. I think Passare goes above and beyond to present delicate and sometimes technical information in a way that is meaningful to the average consumer.
Passare: Robert, can you tell us more about your practice, and why you chose it?
Robert: The thing I like about estate planning is it’s really the only preventative area of law where you’re dealing with people before they’re in trouble. Most of the time you need a lawyer when you’re already in trouble. And though some people may think planning for your own death can be a potentially dark subject, it’s one of the few areas of law where you’re dealing with something before there is any problem. This appeals to me.
Passare: Can you share your life philosophy with us?
Sure, part of planning for End of Life is also planning how to live a good life while we are still here. My view is you’ve got to enjoy every day; I don’t know what’s in the next life, if anything, but I know what I’ve got now and I believe you’ve got to use it. So my humble advice outside the realm of estate planning is to find what you love and do it. Enjoy living.
Passare: Do you have any interests outside the field of law that help you to embrace your philosophy?
Robert: I personally love what I do so it makes my work easy. I love playing with my puppies, and I really love live theater. I do an occasional short film. For me, it becomes a fun, creative time away from work.
Passare: Can you share your goals for Passare consumers?
Robert: My personal goal is to guide people through all aspects of End of Life estate planning and preventative law. I’m very approachable and love to teach people about the issues they may want to consider when developing a personal and unique End of Life plan. I am happy to answer all types of questions and really enjoy the opportunity to help people navigate this issue.
Passare: Thank you Robert. We appreciate your perspective and look forward to future discussions on important End of Life matters.