Thomas J. Bouman provides legal counsel in the areas of estate planning, estate administration, and asset protection. He brings a highly systematic approach to the practice of law, which is critically important when wading through the complex, and often bizarre, legal requirements associated with estate and trust law. Mr. Bouman is author of the Arizona Estate Administration Answer Book and a prominent member of WealthCounsel, LLC, the nation's premiere organization of estate planning attorneys.
My Own Thoughts
I help clients tame the beast known as estate and trust law in Arizona.
As an estate and trust attorney, I use my skills of organization, analysis, and teaching to help people plan for and respond to life's most challenging transitions:
- Death of a Loved One
I am a longtime member of WealthCounsel, the nation's premiere organization of estate planning attorneys. WealthCounsel provides me with the support system of a large law firm, while allowing me to maintain the highly personalized level of service that only a solo attorney can provide.
I am a member of the State Bar of Arizona (Probate and Trust section) and the Pima County Bar Association.
I earned my bachelors degree from the University of Michigan in 1995 and my law doctorate degree from the University of Arizona in 2000. During law school I secured a job with a prominent Tucson law firm where I advanced from research clerk to associate attorney and then to partner in less than four years. I fulfilled a dream of mine in 2005 by leaving that position to establish my own solo law practice.
Advantages of Working with a Solo Attorney
- Personal attention. All tasks are completed by someone who knows you personally.
- More relaxed. It's less intimidating to walk into my office than a big firm law office.
- Flexibility. With no rigid office policies to overcome, I adapt to change much faster.
- Fixed fee projects. I don't have a billable hour requirement so I can offer a fixed fee for most projects.
Will I try to persuade you to implement a strategy that you think is inappropriate? Maybe. Will I try to persuade you to implement a strategy that I think is inappropriate? Absolutely not. I will give you my honest opinion, period.
Although I have extensive training with the use of investment, insurance, accounting, and real estate services, I am not licensed to sell them. Some will argue in favor of using a company that offers one or all of these services, and then offers basic estate planning as an add-on. I disagree. I believe estate planning is a specialized area of law that deserves the full attention of an estate planning lawyer. For this reason, I am independent from all banks, trust companies, accountants, insurance companies, and investment advisors. I will gladly work with them as colleagues, but not as employers or partners. You will only get estate planning counsel from me, not a sales pitch for other products and services.
I have prepared approximately 5,000 estate plans and assisted with hundreds of other projects related to estate administration, asset protection, and firearms law. Most clients live in the Tucson metro area, although I have represented at least one client from each of the following cities in Arizona:
- Camp Verde
- Casa Grande
- Cave Creek
- Corona de Tucson
- Desert Hills
- Fountain Hills
- Green Valley
- Huachuca City
- Lake Havasu City
- Oro Valley
- Paradise Valley
- Rio Rico
- San Manuel
- San Tan Valley
- Show Low
- Sierra Vista
- St. David
- Sun City West
- Tucson Estates
My wife, Priscilla, and I have been married since 2001 and we have 5 beautiful (and mostly well-behaved) daughters. Our oldest daughter is in high school and our youngest is age 1. We live in northeast Tucson and are members of Christ Community Church, Arizona Families for Home Education and Forty Niner Country Club. I was born and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan and miss the beautiful summers at Lake Michigan. My wife and I are passionate about taking family vacations and road trips. In fact, we have already taken our older children to all 50 states. I am musically-inclined, singing regularly in a worship band and choir at my church. My golf handicap is about 16, my bowling average is about 165, and I am always eager for a competitive game of table tennis or outdoor resort-style shuffleboard in our back yard. And yes, my estate plan is up-to-date.
Quirks and Eccentricities
My Myers-Briggs personality type is ISTJ ("Inspector"). ISTJ is an acronym used to describe one of the sixteen personality types created by Katharine Briggs and Isabel Myers. It stands for Introverted, Sensing, Thinking, Judging. ISTJ indicates a person who is energized by time spent alone (Introverted), who focuses on facts and details rather than ideas and concepts (Sensing), who makes decisions based on logic and reason (Thinking) and who prefers to be planned and organized rather than spontaneous and flexible (Judging). ISTJs are sometimes referred to as Inspector personalities because of their focus on details and interest in doing things correctly.
According to Truity.com, we ISTJs are responsible organizers, driven to create and enforce order within systems and institutions. We are neat and orderly, inside and out, and tend to have a procedure for everything we do. Reliable and dutiful, we ISTJs want to uphold tradition and follow regulations. ISTJs are steady, productive contributors. Famous ISTJs include Queen Elizabeth II, Harry Truman, Warren Buffett, Queen Victoria, George H.W. Bush, and John D. Rockefeller.
But we ISTJs tend to have a serious, conservative air about us. Others may perceive ISTJs as unfriendly, at least initially, and impatient in social situations. This may explain why I disfavor phone meetings (because we can't see each other's body language and expressions) and may get frustrated when meetings or events go long for no apparent reason.
We ISTJs communicate in a direct and straightforward way. We are specific and oriented to details, and often communicate primarily to move a task along. The ISTJ typically has a great memory for detail and has a vast storehouse of practical, factual information. Most ISTJs don’t talk for the sake of talking, but will share their knowledge when they see a practical need for it. ISTJs are often no-nonsense and action-oriented in their communication; they tell what they know and what needs to be done.
Why Estate Planning Law?
You may also wonder why I chose this specific profession and subject matter. Well, the answer is that my personality and talents are well suited for it. I can be myself and not have to pretend to be someone that I am not. This career rewards me for simply doing things that I enjoy doing.
I have no desire to confront other lawyers and adversaries on a daily basis. I prefer to be a counselor - someone who can come along beside you and help you tame the beast that is estate and trust law. This area of law allows me the opportunity to do that in the context of important life and death topics, which I care about deeply.
I fully appreciate the brevity of life. It teaches me that significance is far more important than success. There is no point in you being concerned about all of this estate planning stuff if you won't acknowledge your own mortality. And I think it would be silly to hire an attorney who won't either.
Both you and I know that we can't take anything with us when we die. It's all staying behind. There is a reason we say, "You can't take it with you." Because it is true.
Yes, in order to even initiate the process of estate planning, you must admit that your body may actually get old someday. For every day that goes by, you are one day closer to death. I know that is hard for many of us to accept, but accept it you must before you proceed at all. You can no longer assume that you will have always have your charm and good looks, the skip in your step, the ability to make a wisecrack, or the memory to recall an important fact... like your name. Yes, you might even die.
I know some would disagree (including my younger self), but I believe the process of estate planning is a worthy endeavour in and of itself. I'm even willing to disregard the result of it (well, just for the sake of making this point of course). The process forces you to acknowledge your own mortality and think about what really matters in life. Making a commitment to create and maintain a comprehensive estate plan will reduce your anxiety about losing control of your body, mind, and life. The process of estate planning will provide answers to your pressing questions so you can focus on what really matters in life.
I hope you'll make an appointment to get your estate plan up-to-date. There is no better time to do it than right now.