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Gary DeWitt Helping You Prepare For Life
I grew up on a ranch in Northeastern Oklahoma. When I wasn’t in school, I was working on the family ranch. I learned the importance of hard work at an early age, and was raised with strong values: Perseverance, Honesty, Integrity & Service. Also, my parents taught me life should be conducted in the order of God, Family, Country.
I was blessed to be able to attend Oklahoma State University, majoring in Business Administration and Computer Science.
As a result, I was able to spend time working as a computer professional & consultant. Most of that time was spent working in the agriculture industry at a very large poultry company & providing consultation services to numerous Fortune 100 companies.
However, even though I was successful, I felt something was missing in my life.
My father passed away of a sudden heart attack. Because of this, my mother and I had to take the family ranch through probate – for the third time since 1975. This was an extremely long and stressful process and it is the last thing that anyone wants to go through while they are mourning.
Later the same year, I experienced some heart problems. While lying in the hospital and reflecting on my life, I decided to take my life and career in a different direction.
I decided that I wanted to help families navigate their own probate issues; and through proper planning guide others in avoiding this stress.
Law School – Second Career
Although not many people go to Law School with the goal of becoming an Estate Planner, that’s exactly what I did!
I attended the University of Arkansas Law School, graduated, passed the bar and was reborn as an attorney.
Proper Planning Saves Headaches and Money
Growing up on a ranch, it was understood that during the good times, you should prepare for the not-so-good times (accidents are common on a ranch). Most people don’t think about Estate Planning, until after its too late.
With proper Estate Planning, nobody should have to go through probate. Nobody should have to add extra strain to an already emotional time. Families deserve to be protected from the dangers they don’t know about. If you are already going through Probate Court, my goal is to help guide your family though the process, stress-free.
The Best Part of Waking Up
The best part of being an Estate Planner, what motivates me every day, are the families I get to work with. Meeting you, hearing your stories & counseling you on creating a practical & effective plan for the future, is a gratifying experience. I truly enjoy taking you through the planning process, explaining and simplifying the “legalese” along the way — so you understand all of your options and make the best decisions for your loved ones.
My education, coupled with my valuable life experiences, gives me a unique perspective and allows me to bring Estate Planning and Elder Law solutions to your family, in a way that goes beyond the traditional lawyer/client relationship. I don’t provide canned, one-size-fits-all plans. I work to create a customized solution, tailored to each client’s values, needs & goals. I also take the time to make sure each plan is implemented correctly and I monitor the plan so it is kept up-to-date.
What Makes Me Uniquely Qualified to Help You:
- Practice limited to Estate Planning, Probate, and Elder Law
- Real life work experience in planning, design, and analysis
- Advanced Law Degree (LLM) in Estate Planning and Elder Law
- Member of National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys
- Member of Wealth Counsel
- First hand life experience in these areas of law (been there, done that personally)
At the DeWitt Law Firm, we make a thorough and diligent effort to understand your family’s values, needs and goals. Our passion is helping to make sure that your legacy & assets are preserved, your loved ones’ futures are secured….and your family will never have to go through a long, difficult probate process.
I strive to stop the consequences of not planning:
- You stand to lose your autonomy as a person (have your rights given to somebody else) and be put into the hands of Adult Protective Services or somebody else that you may not want
- You put your family’s security at risk
- You put your assets at risk
- Your private affairs will be made public
- If you are incapacitated, your family will have to go to court to access your funds
- Your spouse’s next spouse can cut your children out
- Estate tax rates start at 40%
The Boring Stuff
Undergraduate degrees from Oklahoma State University in Computer Science and Business
Law degree from the University of Arkansas
Advanced Law Degree (LLM) from Western New England
About Our Firm
When founder Gary DeWitt opened the DeWitt Law Firm, PLLC in 2014, he saw an opportunity to change the way estate planning was done. To transform the experience most people get when doing their estate planning. He saw the creation of an estate plan as a lifelong relationship with you as your trusted adviser.
To make this a reality, the firm was built around certain core values at the heart of the firm. These include:
- Returning phone calls and communications in a timely manner
- Lawyer doing all the work, not a paralegal or secretary
- Passion for Planning
- No “canned” solutions. Unique solutions for unique families like yours
- It’s not about the work, it’s about the relationship with you
We want you to have a great experience when you work with us. We want you to have peace of mind from the moment we start and from then on.
Explaining to you how we’re different requires an explanation of what the “traditional” experience with a lawyer is like. If you’ve worked with a lawyer to prepare estate planning documents for you in the past, this will sound familiar.
During the traditional experience, you’ll go in and meet with a lawyer who will oftentimes make things seem very complicated and confusing. You’ll have a good idea that the lawyer is smart and seems to know what they are doing, so you’ll nod and answer questions, as if you understand everything. Because you want to do the right thing for your family, you’ll have the lawyer prepare documents for you and you’ll sign the documents, feeling relieved that you’ve got that taken care of.
You’ll 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’ll 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’ll have gotten busy with other things and never get around to moving that bank account.
A few weeks later, you’ll 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’ll 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’ll get a bill in the mail two weeks later.
You’ll 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’ll 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 not too long ago, it happened to my family and I swore it would never happen to my clients when I created my own firm. And since then, I have seen countless clients come in to see me who have had this exact experience.
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 were built with the needs of growing families in mind. We understand you are BUSY, you are growing, you are planning for a life of prosperity and you value ease, convenience and efficiency. You want to know you’ve 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 children would be taken care of in the best way possible and will be prepared to receive your wealth if anything happens to you.
That is our focus as well. We’ve developed unique systems to give you the same access to a personal family lawyer as was previously only available to the likes of Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and Sam Walton so you can have the guidance you need to build and maintain a life of prosperity and wealth.
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. Everything we do is billed on a flat-fee basis, agreed to in advance, so there are never any surprises.
We have a whole team to serve you. When you call our office to ask your quick question, you won’t have to wait hours or days for a phone call back. You’ll get your question answered, right away. And, if you need to schedule a more in-depth legal or strategic call with your personal lawyer, a call will be scheduled when you’re both available and ready for the call so we can make the very best use of your time and not waste your time by leaving voicemail after voicemail back and forth.
And, we ensure the most important details of your planning are followed through on and your plan continues to work throughout your lifetime.
We have a “funding coordinator” to ensure your assets are protected throughout your lifetime and none of your assets will end up going through a long, expensive court process or being lost to the state because they were missed after your death.
We’ve created unique membership programs to keep your plan up to date year in and year out as well as give you access to our Trusted Team of Legal Experts for guidance on ANY legal or financial matter. One day you will need a lawyer. I don’t know why and I don’t know when, but when you do, you will be grateful you can call on us and we’ll be here to advise you or get you out of a jam.
Lastly, we believe your financial wealth is only a small part of your overall “Family Wealth” which is made up of your far more valuable, Intellectual, Spiritual and Human assets – who you are and what’s important to you.
Most estate plans are only able to transfer your financial wealth onto the next generation. The intangible nature of your much greater wealth has made it difficult to capture and it is most often lost when someone passes. How much do you know about your grandparents values? Their most prized personal possessions? How they felt about you? What they had learned during their lifetime?
If you are like most people, you know very little. But, the wealthiest families capture these assets and pass them along right with their financial wealth. And, that’s part of the reason the rich keep getting richer.
We’ve developed a tool that allows us to pass on your whole family wealth, including your Intellectual, Spiritual and Human assets. I can’t go into all of the details here, but we’ll definitely talk about when you come into meet with your Personal Family Lawyer.
We look forward to seeing you and caring for your family soon!
I am a native of Arkansas, having been in and around Northwest Arkansas most of my life. I have lived in Springdale for the past 16 years working, playing and raising our 2 children, Madeline and Aaron.
I have had several careers like most people. After working in large companies I decided I was ready for a change.
My sister was working at UAMS in Little Rock as a physical therapist and took me to work with her. I fell in love with physical therapy and went back to school to become a physical therapist assistant. The next 16 years I worked with children with special needs in the public schools and pre-schools.
I absolutely loved working with the children, families, physical therapist and other health care professionals. The children were such a delight! It was so rewarding to help a child to grow and thrive, walk and play, crawl and climb. Even though some of the diagnosis were frightening and debilitating it gave me great joy to help those children experience normal activities like swinging or playing in a ball pit.
Gary’s Change of Profession
After Gary’s father passed away in 2010 he told me he wanted to go back to school to become an attorney. He didn’t want anyone to go through the tedious and long process that our family had to go through with his father’s probate. I knew that he had found a career he could be passionate about and I was behind him 100%.
He has an incredible mind and I knew he could accomplish anything he set his mind to. I have always enjoyed helping people and I wanted to have my own business, since I grew up helping both my mom and my brother operate their own successful businesses.
My two children, Aaron and Madeline, are what drive me on a daily basis to work hard. I want to be the example for them on having a successful balance of work and family time. But also, serving our community with caring and dedication.
My goal is to assist every person who comes through our doors. I will do my best to help people get the best service in a caring environment in a timely manner. I am dedicated to returning phones calls with answers! Our office is here to serve and we love having our clients feel welcome to drop by when they need us.
Our goal is to be the person you turn to when making those big decisions in life. We want to be a friend of the family for generations to come. Each family has a different set of needs and goals. Our plans are customized for each family and we do that taking our clients through the planning process, explaining the options and making a plan that will fit our clients’ needs and goals.
Day in and day out I assist Gary on helping our clients in proper planning at every stage of their lives.
Different People, Different Plans
There is a different plan for single individuals, young married couples, to people in their 40’s, 50’s and on. We listen to our clients to make sure that their goals are met. We strive to prevent the “horror” stories we hear from people every week. Having to move your loved one into a nursing home is hard enough without finding out they will not qualify for Medicaid.
Conclusion — Local Folk
We love working and playing in Downtown Springdale and being part of the revival of the downtown area.
I hope that I can serve you and make planning a creative experience to share with generations to come!
What Sets Us Apart?
We are the DeWitt Law Firm, PLLC. I love creating plans to save people from headaches, but I was fed up with “one size fits all” plans. So I created my law firm to customize each plan to maximize protection and minimize your out of pocket cost.
I’ve created a system that tells you exactly what you need to plan and minimizes the amount of time it takes to get everything in one place.
With a system, vital items don’t “fall through the cracks” and get overlooked. Workbooks and checklists make sure we don’t create the wrong plan for you.
What really sets us apart?
- An attorney does ALL of the work. From the interview, answering questions, creating the documents, signing, and making changes, an attorney does it all.
- You are our partner, not just a client. Whether you’ve been with us for days or decades, we’re always responsive and always on.
- We are not a “trust mill.” Your plan is custom crafted to minimize cost and maximize benefit. We don’t do things just because they are the “flavor of the month.”
- Your time is important. If we are more than 15 minutes late, $50.00 to the charity of your choice.
- Your questions are answered, no matter how long it takes. We want you to understand why, not just walk out with a stack of papers.
- Changes, up to one hour of my time, are free of charge within the first year.