How We Are DifferentMeet The Team

cris-carter-headshot-2019

Cris Carter

Attorney At Law

Cris has spent many years helping individuals and families navigate the legal system and guiding them to make the best possible life impacting decisions. Her practice focuses on estate planning, asset protection and the transfer of her client’s property and wealth.  Cris develops lifelong relationships with her clients serving as the trusted advisor to her clients and their families. But for Cris it is about so much more as she preserves and protects her client’s loved ones and their legacies which include their intellectual, spiritual and human assets. Perhaps that is why Cris’ clients often say they have never met an attorney quite like Cris. 

Before moving to Colorado, Cris praticed law in Florida, having received both her graduate and law degree from the University of Florida. Go Gators! One of Cris’ greatest rewards was raising her two children. She enjoyed being actively engaged in her kids’ activities and was a scout leader, a cheerleading coach, sponsor of the robotics club as well as attending and supporting all the other sports and academic endeavors of her children. When her daughter moved to Colorado, Cris saw the writing on the wall and knew that her grandchildren would be born in Colorado so she made her way to Colorado to be close at hand when those grandchildren arrived. And they did!  Cris is the proud grandmother of three amazing grandkids, Lincoln, Livvy  & Birdy, who know her as Coco!

Cris has poured her heart and soul into Colorado since arriving as she has served on the Board of Directors for the Southern Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Northern Colorado, the Senior Resource Council and the Alliance for Suicide Prevention of Larimer County, to name a few activities that grabbed her heart.    

San Burch

Editor in Chief & Chief Hospitality Officer

San is our  “Editor in Chief” as well as our Chief Hospitality Officer, which is why we simply call her “Chief”.  San is the master of all things written. San and her husband, Thomas, have one child, Luke, and one furry child named Scooby Doo. She loves reading, writing, and long road trips with her family. San has an invincible spirit and a passion for helping people feel seen, heard and held.

San+Valdez+Burch
Kyra-headshot

Kyra Ness-Lanckriet

Tech Guru

Kyra may definitely be the youngest member of our team however don’t let her youth fool you as she is one accomplished young lady. Having graduated from Tulane with a degree in Psychology and Sociology, Kyra is now seeking her graduate degree. While at Tulane, Kyra was a track star, the women’s student body VP, an honor student, advisory board member, an Alpha Kappa Psi brother and that just scratches the surface of her many awards and distinctions. We love Kyra’s passion, energy and brainstorming capabilities. Kyra is on board to handle all things techie and our social media.

How We Are Different

A good starting point to understand how we are different from other law firms is to walk through what a traditional encounter with a lawyer is like. If you have ever worked with a lawyer, what you will recall is how confusing and complex everything seemed.

What a Traditional Lawyer Experience is Like

In a typical and traditional experience with a lawyer, you went to an appointment, met with a lawyer who used big words, asked questions. You nodded your head and answered the questions while pretending that you understood what was going on (but you were actually dazed and confused). When you left, your head was swimming with things you didn’t understand.  You thought that the lawyer must be pretty smart as he or she seemed to know what they were talking about, even if you didn’t.  When you got a call from the lawyer’s office to come in and sign documents, you did because you wanted to do the right thing for your family.  Once you signed all the paperwork, you left the lawyer’s office and breathed a sigh of relief.  You checked estate plan off your to-do list and hoped that you would never have to do that again.

You might remember your lawyer told you to move your assets and bank accounts into your trust.  You tried to do that but were not quite sure how to go about that. Sooner or later, you call your lawyer’s office, leave a message and wait for a return call from your attorney.  When he gets back to you, he spends 15 minutes explaining the process again.  You go at it again and try to transfer all your assets and bank accounts to the trust.  You aren’t at all sure that you did it correctly or that it is complete.  A few weeks later, you get a bill in the mail from your lawyer for that 15 minute phone call.  You’re reminded that you still have a few more details to finish your transfers but more importantly, you make a mental note not to ever call the lawyer again because it will cost you.

MOST PEOPLE DON’T WANT TO TALK TO THEIR TRADITIONAL LAWYER AGAIN

And life moves on.  Your life changes, the law changes, your circumstances change, babies are born, children get older, relatives and friends pass, and your assets change as you move accounts or buy or sell property.  But your estate plan remains the same because you haven’t given any thought to how all the changes that have occurred will impact your estate plan. And even if you do think about it, you don’t want to call your lawyer because you know you’ll get a bill in the mail two weeks later. Who has the money for that?

And then one of those “what if” life events happen.  You become incapacitated or die. Your loved ones look for that old estate plan you set up way back when. No one remembers the name of the lawyer that you met with.  If they do find the documents, they find they are out of date and have no resemblance to your life, your family or your assets as they presently exist.

Your family is at a loss.  They are not only overcome with grief but they don’t know where to turn or what to do. They contact the same lawyer you used to prepare the documents, who is as happy as can be to probate those assets that never made it into the trust.

How Do I Know All This?

I have heard this happen time and time again to countless clients that have had this same experience.  Unfortunately, I’ve discovered that the estate planning industry was not designed to serve growing families who experience lots of change on their way to success. It was designed to serve 70 and 80 year olds who were waiting to die.

Like you, I too have experienced life’s traumas.  I consider myself a survivor and an overcomer. My goal is to use my skills and life experiences to be your family’s trusted advisor for life; that one person you can trust in, confide in and who will help you make the best personal, financial, and legal decisions when life isn’t easy.  I have a passion for helping people solve problems; even when those problems are downright difficult.

My passion for helping families came from many different life experiences. Some of those experiences that shaped my life, how I practice law and how I interact with my clients are:

When I left law school, I was a litigator; a trial attorney.  Although I loved being able to solve problems and help people, I disliked the financial side and the pay by the minute exchange.  Cha-ching cha-ching.  Clients needed to talk to me but were afraid of the cost to have a conversation.  So, people tried to solve problems by themselves. That didn’t work well as “people don’t know, what they don’t know.”  By not talking to their attorney, things got more complicated. Consequently, it took more time and money to resolve the compounded problem.

When you become a lawyer, you quickly discover that the “law” is not user friendly.  The law has been created over a long period of time by politicians that you and I don’t know, that will never know us and do not know what is best for us.  And the law has a broad range and long term effect.  How can people you don’t know address issues before they arise for your family and understand what is best for you? Well obviously, they can’t.  And that is why the estate plan we create with our clients becomes so important.  By planning in advance, you get to do exactly what you want and not what some politician has decided will work (or not).

The other observation is how many people get stuck in our court system when an issue or a conflict arises. The fact of the matter is that our courts are overloaded and over-burdened. They are not well equipped to handle the emotionally charged matters that families bring to court. If you have ever been involved with a court case, you are well aware things move painfully slow, are fraught with delay and become very expensive. A person’s future rests in the hands of one judge they meet for a brief time, who makes a decision that greatly impacts their life based upon whatever evidence was put in front of him.

Sometimes it works to solve the problem; more often than not, it creates more problems.

After spending years in court, I realized the disconnect between my dream of helping people solve problems and the dysfunction inherent in the legal system was never going to change. It was hard to watch; hard to tolerate and sometimes led to heart wrenching results.

So I QUIT!  Judges and associates were baffled. They tried to talk me out of it. Their words fell on deaf ears.  I was done. I left the law and I tried not to be a lawyer. It was a struggle because I loved the problem solving and helping people. Ultimately, I failed at quitting lawyering.  I couldn’t stay away because being an attorney went to the very core of my being; I was an attorney at heart.

When I returned to the practice of law, the very first thing to get rid of was billing by the hour. So, I set up a flat fee structure that was understandable, agreed to in advance and was based upon what you see is what you get, with no surprises!

I had a new opportunity; an exciting opportunity as I re-opened my law firm.  I vowed that we would do things differently and We Do! We are here to meet the needs of the families we serve. We want you to spend your time on those things that are most important to you and that promote the success and well-being of you and your family.  We want you to leave the heavy lifting of the legal planning and the legal system to us!

 

At our office we know that our focus and the development of unique systems will make it as easy as possible for you to put a plan in place that will protect you and your loved ones. We will keep your plan up to date with any life or law changes.  We value your time and resources and are committed to taking care of your estate planning in an efficient, convenient, and thorough manner.

Communicating with our clients is something we welcome. There are no time clocks and we encourage you to call if you have a quick question or need to talk in depth. We are here to serve you. When you call with a quick question, you will get your question answered right away. If your question involves a legal issue, we will schedule a time for you to talk to your attorney. No more leaving a voicemail and waiting or wondering.

Lastly, every three years we offer our clients a no-charge review of their existing plan to ensure that it still meets with their goals and existing law.

We Help You Transfer Your Family Wealth

Most estate plans focus only on the transfer of your financial wealth to the next generation. Most people have such great intentions of passing on the intangible, but very few ever get around to it.

We design estate plans that capture and pass your most valuable assets to the people you love.  Not only will we help you pass on your money but also your values, your insights, your stories and your experiences – the truly valuable assets your loved ones care about the most.

We work hard to ensure the most important details of your plan are followed through and that when your life changes or the law changes and affects your plan, that your plan changes so it will work for you throughout your lifetime.

Our Firm Helps You Prepare For Life

Our firm has a different perspective.  We exist to work with growing families. We understand you are BUSY, you are growing, you are planning for a life of prosperity and you value ease, convenience, and efficiency.

You are raising children and caring for elderly parents while also working hard to build your own nest egg for a lifetime of support.

You want to know you have made the best decisions for your family and that your plan will work when your loved ones need it most. You want to make sure your minor children will be raised by those people you trust, and not by just anyone. You want to insure that your children are prepared for life and what you leave behind. You want to feel confident that you’ve made the right choices, and handled everything so that you aren’t leaving behind a mess, when something happens.  We are here to keep your family out of court and out of conflict, which is the greatest risk to the people you love and all you have created.

One day you will need a lawyer.

I don’t know why and I don’t know when.  What I do know is when that day comes when you need a lawyer, you will be grateful you can call on us and we’ll be here to advise you.

We look forward to seeing you and caring for your family soon!

Cris Carter

PS – If you think this all sounds expensive, well, you’re right and you’re wrong. I can guarantee you that if  we meet and we do your estate plan, that planning is going to cost you substantially less than the cost would be for your family if you died with a plan that didn’t work or you didn’t have a plan in place at all.  I’ve never had a family who believed in this kind of planning and wanted to put it in place for their loved ones leave my office because they couldn’t afford it.  We do offer financing to our clients because we know that this planning is important and lays the foundation for a life of success!