David Das of Das Law, PLLC is a family wealth and estate planning lawyer. He shares about this family, his practice and why it’s so important to protect your family, and kids if the unthinkable could happen. He has an incredible background and the cutest little boy and fur baby.
David, tell us a little bit about your background and what you do?
I grew up in Rochester Hills and went to MSU for undergrad, go green! Right after graduation I moved to the Northern Virginia/DC area to attend law school. After graduating law school in 2013, I stayed in the area to kick off my legal career.
The majority of my early career was spent litigating in the courts. While working for mid-sized law firms, I spent my time either defending companies or advocating for plaintiffs. I did have the occasional opportunity to assist clients in estate planning, but it wasn’t the primary area of my practice – although, I became aware that I wanted it to be.
Fast forward to 2019 when my wife and I moved back to the Mitten, and by this time, I knew I wanted to practice estate and family wealth planning exclusively. Now that I was back home, I started to focus most of my attention to helping individuals and families in my community.
In early 2021 – in the middle of the pandemic, I opened Das Law, PLLC, where all I do is family wealth and estate planning. My main goal is to help people protect their assets and their loved ones by creating tailored and complete estate plans that work when needed most and keep their things and their family, out of court and out of conflict.
How did you get into Family Wealth Planning and why is it important for families to really sit down and have this process/plan in place?
Great questions, and I think the answer, at least part of it, is the same for both. Explaining it from my professional and personal experience might be . .
Some quick context; although what I do is categorized as estate planning, I’m not a huge fan of the term and I’ll tell you why. Most people see the word “estate” or “estate plan” and think it’s only relevant at death and only for the super wealthy.
When in reality, anyone over 18 that owns assets and/or have people they care about, especially if they have minor children, would truly benefit with some form of estate planning. And a complete plan doesn’t only plan for death but making sure you (and your loved ones) are taken care of even if you become temporarily incapacitated.
On a professional level, I was all too familiar with court. Whether it was probate court, a jury trial or some other court hearing; there were two constants: 1. It was stressful for all involved; and 2. The outcome was never guaranteed. My professional experience with court made me realize that I wanted to keep people out of it.
In terms of estate planning, this means keeping people and their loved ones from having to go to probate court. Probate court is expensive, public and very time consuming; but it can be completely avoided with proper planning.
On a personal level, there are two main reasons why I decided to get into family & wealth planning.
The first one relates to my personal experience with probate court. My dad passed away a number of years ago and even though he had a trust, some of his assets still ended up in probate court. The last thing someone grieving wants to do is to deal with the court process, but that’s where I was. Without getting to deep into it, some of my dad’s assets ended up in probate court because he wasn’t properly instructed on how to move them into his trust.
Going back to your question, having to had dealt with it personally made me realize (even more) that I wanted to keep families and their loved ones out of probate court. So I’ve made it a part of my practice to ensure plans stay updated and do just that.
The second personal reason relates to having a child. Most parents, like my wife and I, want to make sure their little ones are taken care of and protected in all circumstances. But, what I realized is that most estate plans have a gap when it comes to the protection of minor children.
That gap relates to the short-term care of minor children.
The majority of plans name legal guardians, i.e. who takes care and custody of your kids should you pass, in the parents will(s). That’s great, but it only accounts for the long-term. Consider – like I did – a tragic situation where parents are out on a date, the kids are at home with a babysitter and the parents don’t make it home. What would happen from a practical standpoint is this: the authorities would show up to the house and they would not be able to leave the kids with someone who doesn’t have legal authority. This means that the kids would have to be taken into protective custody. Even if only for a short-time, this is a situation that I wanted to avoid at all costs.
So I’ve built in Kids Protection Planning into my practice and it involves, among other things, naming legal guardians for the long-term AND the short-term, so your kids are always in the care of people you choose and trust.
To briefly answer your second question – why it is important for families to have planning in place – it’s because of the above reasons. Without planning your loved ones will have to deal with probate court where a stranger (a judge) will decide, based on Michigan laws, the distribution of your assets. Further, if you have minor children, it is crucial to have a complete plan in place in order to ensure the care and protection of your kids in ALL scenarios.
You have a family of your own here in Bloomfield / Birmingham area? What do you and your family love to do most?
Yes! My wife and I have 2.5-year-old little boy named Remy, and hope to have more kids in the future. We also have our dog, a 90-pound fur-baby.
We live in Bloomfield Hills and absolutely love it. We are big travelers and love to jet-set when life allows it. During the summer months, you can typically find us at the pool or just outside generally enjoying the weather.
Our little one loves all the activities at Bower’s Farm, so we go there often. We love your “Weekend Round up” – it keeps us busy despite the season and lets us explore new local things we haven’t tried!
Back to business, can you tell us more about the specific offerings you firm has for families? And what can we expect at our first appointment with you. Tell us how it works.
We offer the full slate of estate planning documents, tailored specifically to you and your family’s wants and to you and your family’s needs. This can include Wills; Trusts (including special needs trusts); Financial Powers of Attorney; Medical Powers of Attorney; Declarations (end of life treatment); Advanced Healthcare Directives; Final Disposition Instructions; Property Deeds, and more. And just as, or even more important if you have minor children; we include Kids Protection Planning, which I mentioned above.
As for the process, it goes like this: After someone reaches out, we schedule a 10-15 minute phone call where I give them a run down of what I do, how I work and answer any general questions they may have.
From there, we schedule the first formal meeting, which I call the “Family Wealth Planning Session” (FWPS). The FWPS is way more than just an initial meeting. It’s up to 2 hours of my time, where we look at what would happen to your loved ones and assets, either with the plan you have in place (if you have one), or if you have no plan (aka Michigan’s plan for you) and compare that with what you actually want. If what you want is different than your current situation (usually is) then I put forth the best options to achieve your wishes.
The FWPS is also a working meeting, meaning we design your specific plan during the session and you leave knowing exactly what you’re going to get. It can be done completely over Zoom or in-person. Best part is that it’s completely free! I just ask that you provide me some basic information (family members, assets, etc.) before hand so that I am able to give specific recommendations.
Also in our many conversations you mentioned educational webinars that you do? Which we will upload here for our moms but what can we expect in the next month or so for topics?
Yes! Care.com did a study a few years back that found roughly 68% of adult Americans didn’t have any planning in place, even though they thought it was important. The most common reason for not planning was that people simply didn’t know where to start.
So, in an effort to educate the community on how and where to begin, I put on free monthly webinars on various topics such as: estate planning basics; naming legal guardians for minor children; the difference between wills and trusts, etc.
I’m actually hosting two free 30-minute webinars this week on the same topic, which is: Estate Planning Basics and Naming Legal Guardians. The first is Wednesday the 22nd at 12:30 pm and the second is on Thursday the 23rd at 7:00 pm.
For anyone who has considered this and hasn’t, I know you make it seemless and as stress free as possible. If you’re considering it, what are the top 3 things families must know?
- The Family Wealth Planning Session is completely free and can be done over Zoom or in-person. And it’s no-obligation – meaning, even if you decide not to hire me, you’ll still learn what you and your family needs to put in place to protect what matters most – your assets and loved ones.
- Everything is flat fee, there is absolutely no hourly billing. You will know the full and final price well before you make the decision on whether to work with me.
- Estate planning isn’t a one and done type of thing. Lives change, so your plan has to stay updated along the way. I make it a point to continue a relationship with my clients even after their plan has been delivered to them so we know their plan will continue to work when needed.
Thank you so much for sitting down and sharing your family and business with us.
FREE 30-minute webinars, hosted by David. Stay tuned for more which will be added here in the future.
Webinar 1: Estate Planning Basics – Wednesday the 22nd at 12:30 pm
Webinar 2: Naming Legal Guardians. Thursday the 23rd at 7:00 pm.
Webinar 3: Naming Legal Guardians for Your Minor Children: Do’s & Don’ts – Tuesday, March 21 @ 12:30pm AND Wednesday, March 22 @ 7:00pm