"Well, he can make somebody's will so airtight can't anybody meddle with it."
- Miss Maudie, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Early on in my life, I fell in love with the ideals of "Atticus Finch," the Lawyer in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. He was a small town lawyer and father who was greatly respected and loved by his community, but in the face of adversity, he stood for doing the right thing, even if it meant he could lose his life. He stood up for a person who was helpless and in great need. I aspire to incorporate his character into my own practice of Elder Law and Estate Planning here in California. Our senior citizens need an advocate who will help them know how to protect their family and their assets from being depleted by the Government and the non-beneficial system that takes non-planners by surprise.
I want to make sure your children are safe and provided for. If you fall ill and go into a nursing home without a plan in place, it could cause your children to face "accusations" of fraud, identity theft and/or elder abuse when they try and help you with your finances. As our beloved Woodlake Tigers Head Football Coach Leo Robinson used to say on a regular basis, "A word to the wise should be sufficient!"
The legal issues surrounding Disability and Death are numerous and complex and should not be taken lightly. They require professional help from an experienced Estate Planning or Elder Law Attorney. Many attorney's advertise that they do wills and trusts, but their main focus is on other areas of the law. My mission is to provide my clients with the certainty that their Estate Plan will work when they need it to work, that they will have a friendly, knowledgeable and reliable advocate available to help with problems as they arise, and to be the lawyer that protects them from other members of the legal profession.
More about me
My father, John L. Miller, Esq., who began his law practice in 1965 after graduating from Stanford School of Law, moved our family to Woodlake, California in 1980. I was in the 6th grade. My dad always said he moved from the Bay Area because he was tired of the crime, the drugs, the smog, and the traffic. He wanted a small town environment to raise his family and he got his wish, lol, thank you Woodlake. I attended Woodlake Union High School, graduating in 1987 and it was definitely a special time. In fact, I have yet to experience a better time than the decade of the 80's. Thinking back gives me so many good feelings, it is hard to describe.
After high school I joined the Naval Reserves attending boot camp at Great Lakes, Illinois. From there I went to school to learn about working on Naval aircraft hydraulics. My ultimate goal at that point was to get to San Diego, California, which to me was where everyone should "start their life." Upon arrival in San Diego, I attended Grossmont Community College for several years while working full time at Woodstock's Pizza. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with my life, but becoming a lawyer was always on my mind. It was a time of testing the waters for me, and ultimately meeting the Lord and becoming a Christian.
Once I became a Christian, I realized how important it was that I finish college, otherwise I would wind up changing oil in cars for a living and changing the oil in Aircraft on Navy drill weekends (it was neat being part of an F-14 squadron, but considering I was only going two days a month, my "Hydraulics" training was pretty much not needed. I just went and did simple maintenance on the planes under supervision of course. The highlight of my service was time spent on the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier), so I moved on from community college and went to Point Loma Nazarene College. I spent about three years there and earned a degree in Business Administration (although I feel I must say though my three favorite classes were Sailing, Golf, and Photography LOL). After graduation, the job market seemed impossible to break into. I was not interested in being under someones thumb like a "Dilbert" cartoon. I was more interested in becoming my own boss, but that takes capital, something I didn't have. So, I wound up stuffing everything I could fit into my Ford Escort EXP and drove home to Woodlake to take up my Dad's offer to help him in his Law Office.
I began working with my dad at the end of 1994. He was practicing law inside his house. My old room that I moved into in 1980 now had his desk! My dad had decided to focus his Law Firm on Estate Planning in 1991. When I got there, he had just bought a new computer with "Windows" installed on it. He needed me to learn how to work it because we had just joined the "American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys" group. They had software to help us draft legal documents like trusts and wills and it required the Windows operating system (speaking of windows, the view from the office out the window showed the yard I grew up in. We had a duplex on the property that my grandmother used to live in. It had a sloped roof that was perfect for throwing a football on and then catching it when it bounced down. I used to throw my football pretending I was Joe Montana and catch it pretending I was Jerry Rice. Grandma was merciful and let me do it, only getting mad when my ball bounced into and hit her beautiful flowers she kept so nice).
After working with my dad and learning all about estate planning, I decided to take him up on his advice to become a lawyer. I moved to Fresno and went to the San Joaquin College of Law which is one of the best Law Schools in California. They had a high bar passer rate and I knew several people who had attended it in the past. One of them was Judge Eric G. Helgesen, a fine Christian man with an awesome family, a person who helped my family greatly when we got to Woodlake and who also was part of the Woodlake Tiger Football Coaching staff with Leo Robinson. Another person who had mentioned San Joaquin was my Marketing class professor Mr. Mark Anderson at Point Loma Nazarene College. I don't exactly remember if he himself had attended, or if it was his wife who was attending, but I remember his comments put San Joaquin in a positive light for me, and so I am thankful to him for his input. He was one of my favorite teachers at Point Loma.
I graduated Law School from San Joaquin College of Law and passed the California Bar Exam, one of the hardest tests in the world. Since then, I worked with my dad in the fields of Elder Law and Estate Planning for over 23 years, until his passing in May of 2018. We have always had a family business. My mother, Virginia, actually worked with me up until April of 2020, until her health has made it necessary for her to retire. She will always be missed in my practice as she was the sweetest and most hard working person this office has ever employed. At this point of her life, it is our goal to give her the most comfort and attention as possible and give her a chance to rest before she goes to be with Jesus.
Now, times have certainly changed. I am in charge of this office and look forward to continuing the legacy my dad left and yet adjusting to the requirements of the future. We are an "online" society. At the writing of this, we are in a major world pandemic. Corona Virus fears are driving businesses online, including my own. It is great to have the tools I need to communicate with those who are worried and need help. If you are reading this and need my help, please don't hesitate to call me. I look forward to meeting you.