Joel T. Smith, was born and raised in Los Angeles California. Yep, he’s a transplant. After graduating with honors from the California State University – Los Angeles, he managed to escape to Eugene for Law school in 2012. And by the end of the first semester Joel knew two things:
- This was where he belonged – he was going to make the Pacific Northwest his home.
- He would dedicate his life to preventing the tragedies he’d witnessed in his own family.
You see, Joel had experienced the complete disintegration of his family after the death of his grandmother due to the bickering and infighting between those she left behind. Just a few years later, he watched helplessly as his mother mourned the death of his brother, enduring a long and tedious probate process while struggling with the courts, state agencies, and creditors. In both cases there had been documents that were supposed to help – grandma had a will and his brother had appointed his mother power of attorney, but things had gone terribly wrong anyway. Why?
In law school, Joel apprenticed with a local estate planner, and it didn’t take long for him to realize that both of these tragedies were completely preventable. Documents weren’t enough – both grandma and his brother had them. In neither case, however, was the voice of the deceased a part of those documents. Joel had found his purpose: to ensure that the client’s voice lives on through a carefully considered and thoughtfully designed estate plan.
Joel graduated from law school in 2015 with certificates in estate planning and tax law, committed to changing that dynamic for his clients. He is a member of WealthCounsel, ElderCounsel and the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. His firm, Cascadia Estate Planning, provides personalized estate planning, asset protection, and Medicaid eligibility strategies for both pre-planning and crisis cases.