Susan Bratcher

I see my practice is a place where I use all of my resources to forge new paths for my clients, that means tailoring plans based on clients’ objectives. For example, I have been practicing bankruptcy law for almost 20 years. These cases really honed my skills for asset protection. I want my clients to have control over their property and their futures. Asset protection allows people to protect their children from divorce, creditors and high taxes.

When I was in law school one of my best friends made me promise that when I practiced estate planning law that I educate people to not hand money over to children without first training the child about money. She had inherited several large sums of money but spent it foolishly.  She told me that no one should have large sums of money until after they learned the value of money, or at least how to pay the phone bill. She also shared with me that the lack of planning for taxes and other estate cost by her family members had cost her a king’s ransom. She told me that if her family would have planned better she would not have lost thousands and thousands of dollars. My dear friend made me promise to keep all of her troubles in mind when I counseled other people.

That is just what I am doing.  We encourage our clients to update their plans annually and to give consideration to what impact their plan with have on the recipients of their gifts.  For example, giving money to someone who has a disability and is receiving services under a government plan can make them lose their housing, food, medical benefits, and income. However, special needs trusts can provide for the something extra that people really need, like trips. It is all in the details. Additionally, unfunded trusts help no one. Failing to name a living person as beneficiary of life insurance policies and pensions can cost the family thousands of dollars and years of headaches.  We also see a big problem with people getting divorced and not updating their estate planning. So many tears have been cried by loved ones because that awful ex (could be wife, husband, etc.) will not pay for the funeral and the family is short of funds.

My office staff works as a team to better serve our clients. We charge flat rate fees agreed to in advance unless we are required to bill differently, and all contracts are in writing. We want to be your lawyers for life. So, we have a maven list of people that we know, like and trust to share with our clients to point you to the greener pastures. We provide education for our clients and their loved ones.  

My husband, George, just retired from the Kansas City, Missouri Fire Department after protecting our city for over 38 years. We have one adopted son, from the Republic of Georgia. He was our 7th of 12 exchange students we have hosted from all over the world.  We share our home with our pets, which normally include cats, dogs and fish.

For those of you looking for just the facts:  I grew up on a farm out by Smithville. My undergraduate degree is from Rockhurst University in business in 1989.  My law degree is from Southern Methodist University, Dedmon Law School, in 1992. I also attended Oxford University, University College, Oxford, England for a summer program for law school.  I am licensed to practice law in Kansas and Missouri and The District of Kansas in Federal Court and The Western District of Missouri in Federal Court.