Just Enough to Be Dangerous: Bridging the Gaps between Trust & Estate Clients, Practitioners, and Practice

2.5 General and 0.0 Ethics CLE Credits | WSBA AV Activity ID #1007322

In the Information Age, legal practitioners and clients alike have more information at their fingertips than ever before. There’s just enough information available to endanger the estate planning goals and financial well-being of a client when that information is used in a vacuum and without the guidance of a skilled legal practitioner. The danger of not knowing what you don’t know is not limited to clients. It’s more important than ever for legal practitioners to understand their role in bridging the gap between client and the legal system, and continuously refreshing their understanding of their chosen legal disciplines, and the important role they play to their client as counselor and advisor.


Recorded:  04/08/2016
Credits:  2.5 General and 0.0 Ethics CLE | WSBA AV Activity ID #1007322
Length: 2 hours, 40 minutes

Featured Speakers:
James Spencer, Heather deVrieze, Mark A. Trivett

9-9:15 a.m.

Welcome & Overview of the Program

Speaker: James W. Spencer, Spectra Law PS

9:15-10:15 a.m.

The Dialog Gap: Helping Clients Understand the Creative Process that is Estate Planning

In today's world of LegalZoom, Rocket Lawyer, and Suze Orman, clients are bombarded with information about the trust and estate world, and for better or for worse, are more "educated" than ever about estate planning tools. We'll discuss ways you can help your clients sort the good information from the bad, how to tackle your client's self-prepared documents, and tips and tricks to enhance and economize the estate planning process for both client and practitioner.

Speaker: James W. Spencer, Spectra Law PS

10:15-11:15 a.m.

The Fiduciary Gap: Helping Clients Make Good Decisions about Selecting Their Fiduciaries

For too many clients, and practitioners, the fiduciary selection process is an afterthought in the overall estate plan. We'll explore the important questions attorneys should discuss with their clients about selecting attorneys-in-fact, personal representatives, trustees, and other fiduciaries, as well as the minefield of electing co-fiduciaries, the pros and cons of professional fiduciaries, and the hazards of attorneys agreeing to serve in a fiduciary role in a client's estate.

Speaker: Heather deVrieze, deVrieze Carney PLLC

11:15-11:25 a.m.


11:25-12:25 p.m.

The Practice Gap: A Practitioners Tool Box for Their First Trust and Estate Litigation Case

For many trust and estate transactional attorneys, estate litigation is the next logical step in expanding their practice. We'll discover how a transactional attorney can go from knowing just enough about trust & estate litigation to be dangerous (to themselves and their clients), to build the knowledge needed to become a skilled litigator in the trust and estate and general civil realms.

Speaker: Mark A. Trivett

12:25-12:30 p.m.

Closing Remarks & Evaluations

Speaker: James W. Spencer, Spectra Law PS



James W. Spencer, Spectra Law PS

James W. Spencer is principal at Spectra Law PS and an adjunct professor at Seattle University School of Law where he teaches Community Property, Solo & Small Firm Business Planning, and Solo & Small Firm Practice Planning & Management. In addition to serving a large lesbian, gay, bisexual, & transgender ("LGBT") clientele with their legal needs, he practices in estate planning, probate, real estate, and small business law. Professor Spencer is a graduate of Seattle University School of Law, and has presented widely on community property, LGBT law, and law practice management. When not working with his clients, teaching, or volunteering (he sits on the board of directors for both Three Dollar Bill Cinema and Washington Future Business Leaders of America), you'll find James exploring his passion for travel, anywhere from Washington's wilderness to a remote South American desert.


Heather deVrieze, deVrieze Carney PLLC

Since graduation from Seattle U School of Law in 1998, Heather de Vrieze has worked in a small firm West Seattle, focusing her practice on estate planning, probate, and elder law. Heather has always had an interest in working with underserved populations and began early in her career working with the LGBT community and estate planning for special needs beneficiaries.

Balancing work and home life has been important to Heather since the beginning of her law career. Having been diagnosed and treated for two separate cancers during law school, and giving birth to her son just before the start of her final year in law school, the importance of living life to the fullest was a clear priority. When not in in the office, or at home, Heather enjoys hiking and just about any activity that gets her outside. She enjoys travel both within the US and abroad as often as possible. A trip to Tanzania to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro and go on safari was a highlight. A summer 2016 trip to Switzerland for a 101km trail "race" helps her stay focused on fitness and serves as a good excuse to take time away from the office.

Mark A. Trivett

Mark Trivett is a civil defense and small business attorney in Seattle, WA. After graduating from Seattle University School of Law, Mark and another SU Law graduate opened their own small firm, Trivett Monghate and Co., in downtown Seattle. In 2015, Mark merged his practice with the firm Han Santos Reich, PLLC as a litigation associate. In 2016, he transitioned to an of counsel position while looking to move to another firm. Mark's practice is primarily focused on real estate, estate planning and commercial disputes involving individuals and small businesses. He takes great pride in working with opposing counsel to quickly and effectively resolve disputes and to obtain cost-effective outcomes for his clients. In addition to his law practice, Mark is also a member of Emerald City Rotary Club and avid outdoorsmen, hiking and rafting throughout the Pacific Northwest.


General Registration - $75.00

Seattle University School of Law Alumni - $65.00