Douglas Kuthy, Estate Planning Attorney
Douglas E. Kuthy is a 1974 graduate of Bloomfield Hills Andover, the University of Michigan, B.A. 1979, and the Detroit College of Law, J.D, 1986. Prior to beginning his practice he was an intern to the late former Congressmen James G. O’Hara and James J. Blanchard, who later became governor. He was also a judicial clerk to the late Hon. Richard D. Kuhn, Oakland County Circuit Court Judge and Research Intern for the Hon. Gene Schnelz, Oakland County Circuit Court Judge. He is a hearing panelist for the Attorney Discipline Board, a former Special Assistant Attorney General, and has taught business law at the University of Michigan He is admitted to the State Bar of Michigan, the State Bar of Florida, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
Doug’s areas of practice in the past include commercial and insurance litigation, criminal defense, divorce, and bankruptcy. Doug now practices exclusively in estate planning and prepares custom estate plans for families with children, retirees, and small business owners.
Doug has been married for over twenty five years and has two adult children. He is extremely fond of his schnoodle, Thor. His passions include classic automobiles, horror movies, classic rock and jazz music, and detective novels set in the United States, Britain, and Sweden.
How We’re Different
Explaining to you how we’re different from other estate planning attorneys requires an explanation of what the “traditional” estate planning experience with a lawyer is like.
During the traditional experience, you will go in and meet with a lawyer who will often make things seem very complicated and confusing. You will have a good idea that the lawyer is smart and seems to know what he is doing, so you will nod and answer questions, as if you understand everything. Because you want to do the right thing for your family, you will have the lawyer prepare documents for you and you’ll sign the documents, feeling relieved that you have finished that task.
You will take your fancy planning binder home, stick it on a shelf or in a drawer, mark estate planning off on your checklist as DONE and never think about it again.
You might remember your lawyer said something about moving your bank accounts into the trust. So you will go to the bank, forget what you were supposed to do, call your lawyer’s office, get a voicemail, have to leave the bank and wait for a call back, (which takes several hours at least and sometimes days) and by that time, you will have gotten busy with other things and never get around to moving that bank account.
A few weeks later, you will get a bill in the mail for $67.50 for 15 minutes of your lawyer’s time for answering a couple of questions. You’ll make a mental note – don’t call lawyer ever again.
Several years later, you will refinance your house or sell it and buy a new one and forget that you were supposed to let your lawyer know or make sure you kept the title in the name of the trust. Your children will get older, making your guardianship choices outdated, but you don’t want to call your lawyer because you know you will get a bill in the mail two weeks later.
You will hear something about a change in the tax law, but you figure you’d surely get a letter in the mail from your lawyer if it was something that affected you, so you don’t worry about it. And, you’d have to dig through boxes to find your trust documents so you could remember your lawyer’s name and find her contact information. Who has time for that?
It’s not until you become incapacitated or die and your family finds the binder you stuck up on a shelf several years before and never looked at again, that they will realize your plan is so outdated that it has nothing to do with your life, your assets and the law.
Your family is at a loss. They don’t know where to turn or what to do, so they contact the same lawyer you used to prepare the documents, who is as happy as can be to probate your assets, which never made it into the trust.
How do I know all this?
Because it has happened in my family and I swore it would never happen to my clients when I became a lawyer. And I’ve seen how easily it can happen just like this both personally and professionally.
Unfortunately, what I discovered is 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 preparing for death.
Our Firm Helps You Prepare For Life
What makes our firm different is that we are here not just to create a set of documents you will likely never update or look at again, we are here to ensure your loved ones have someone to turn to when you are no longer here. And, to support you in planning for not just legacy (what you leave behind when you are gone), but for life as well.
We’ve been told by many of our clients that the experience of considering their own death before and during their Family Security Planning Session, in the way we take you through the experience, offers a deeper and better experience of life afterwards.
We encourage communication with our clients. In fact, we’ve thrown out the time clocks so you never have to be afraid to call with a quick question (or even a not so quick question). Everything we do is billed on a flat-fee basis, agreed to in advance, so there are never any surprises.