Tucson Estate Planning Law Firm
In 1974, Craig Gordon was using a federal grant from the Administration of Aging to develop a legal information, education and referral program for Senior Citizens in rural Iowa. He rode circuit throughout seven counties, speaking in church basements, listening to problems, and mobilizing local lawyers to respond to the needs of elderly clients. Although he scarcely realized it at the time, the elder law seed had been planted.
In 1981, Allan Bogutz left government service for the private practice of law. He gradually realized that what he enjoyed, and where he felt he could make the biggest contribution, was to continue his "fiduciary" practice. A "fiduciary" is a person in a position of trust, one who is legally empowered to make decisions for other persons. Allan's training made him particularly well suited to advise a client whose spouse has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's or Parkinson's Disease, or a parent whose child is mentally retarded or has been injured as a result of an accident or medical malpractice.
Meanwhile, Craig Gordon had moved to Arizona in 1976 and joined the staff of Southern Arizona Legal Aid. He was handling all sorts of cases including divorces, landlord/tenant disputes, consumer rights issues, wills and probate matters. Legal Aid agencies have strict financial guidelines and only assist clients who are otherwise unable to afford legal representation. Craig also enjoyed helping clients who needed a little extra assistance to receive equal justice under law.
In 1984, Allan Bogutz incorporated his own law firm. Although he already had legal assistants with accounting and social service backgrounds, within a year he felt more legal help was needed. One hot day in July of 1985, Allan telephoned Craig at the Legal Aid office. They agreed to meet, and tentatively discussed joining forces. It was a bit of a risk for both of them. Allan wondered whether there would be enough work to support two lawyers. Craig was concerned about leaving a job where he not only received a steady paycheck, but really felt that he was helping people. After about a week of hesitation, in which Allan and Craig both independently consulted with the well-respected Probate Judge, Alice Truman, the agreement to form the law firm that is Bogutz & Gordon, PC, was sealed with a handshake.
The succeeding 22 years have seen Bogutz & Gordon prosper as one of the pre-eminent Elder Law firms in the country. Both Allan and Craig are among the approximately 60 attorneys who have been recognized as Fellows of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA). Both Allan and Craig are CELAs, Certified Elder Law Attorneys by the ABA-approved National Elder Law Foundation (NELF). Allan was one of the founding members of NAELA and served as its President. Craig was instrumental in founding NELF and served as its President for seven years. Bogutz & Gordon's involvement is these national elder law organizations provides significant advantages. We are known throughout the nation, and are personally acquainted with the most knowledgeable and experienced Elder Law attorneys in other states. When a question arises like "What would the law on this point be in North Carolina or Minnesota?" all we need to do is pick up the phone and speak to one of our colleagues.
There are a total of six attorneys at Bogutz & Gordon. Brian C. Bjorndahl, who had experience with the Internal Revenue Service and as a bank trust officer, joined the firm in 1988. Benjamin J. Burnside had five years of sophisticated estate planning experience with another Tucson firm before joining B&G in 1999. Craig H. Wisnom has eleven years of experience in sophisticated estate plan drafting and administration. He is one of three lawyers in the firm (along with Ben Burnside and Craig Gordon) who is a Certified Specialist in Estate and Trust Law through the State Bar of Arizona.
The attorneys are supported by a very experienced and well-trained staff. Our fiduciary practice often requires us to make personal and complicated decisions affecting both the financial and medical welfare of our clients and their families. Vital to our ability to do this is our support staff which includes two case managers (an RN and a MSW), a number of Certified Legal Assistants, an Enrolled Agent (before the IRS), and financial, accounting and administrative assistants. The support staff numbers 17 persons, five of whom have been with the firm since 1997 or before.
Bogutz & Gordon, PC, is well positioned to meet the elder law and estate planning needs of our clients and their families, both now and for many years into the future.
How do I choose a lawyer?
Consider the following:
- Comfort Level
- - Are you comfortable telling the lawyer personal information? Does the lawyer seem interested in solving your problem?
- - How long has the lawyer been in practice? Has the lawyer worked on other cases similar to yours?
- - How are the lawyer's fees structured - hourly or flat fee? Can the lawyer estimate the cost of your case?
- - Is the lawyer's office conveniently located?
Not sure what questions to ask a lawyer?
Here are a few to get you started:
- How long have you been in practice?
- How many cases like mine have you handled?
- How often do you settle cases out of court?
- What are your fees and costs?
- What are the next steps?
Want to check lawyer discipline?
It is always a good idea to research your lawyer prior to hiring. Every state has a disciplinary organization that monitors attorneys, their licenses, and consumer complaints. By researching lawyer discipline you can:
- Ensure the attorney is currently licensed to practice in your state
- Gain an understanding of his or her historical disciplinary record, if any.
- Determine the seriousness of complaints/issues which could range from late bar fees to more serious issues requiring disciplinary action.