Patti Spencer

As an Estate and Trust Lawyer, I’ve listened to and watched some of the best dramas and comedies, and I don’t watch television. I see these performances in my law office and believe me, I could hand out some Academy Awards for the roles that they’ve played in family feuds. I’m telling you this, (1) because some of them are funny, (2) so that you can learn from their mistakes and (3) so that you have a good story for your next work happy hour.

Estate, trust and tax planning is not a field that most lawyers choose, it chooses you (or you become sucked into it as a fresh, young associate). The later was the beginning of my journey. I worked during school for a law firm in Boston, MA as a 20-something looking for experience. I got hooked on trusts and estates and the intricacies of tax law, moved on to a position as a “real lawyer,” got my Masters in Law in Tax, and then joined the faculty of the Boston University School of Law Graduate Tax Program where I taught Estate and Gift Taxation for eight years.

In 1991, I relocated to Lancaster, Pennsylvania (get all of your Amish jokes out now) where I was the Head of the Personal Trust Department at a regional bank.

After serving five years as the Head of the Personal Trust Department, I left the bank and hung a shingle, launching my own law firm. 25 years later, I have never looked back.

Many think tax and estate planning is dry, but it has fueled many of my personal writing projects over the years. I was a weekly columnist for the Lancaster Intelligencer Journal for 14 years where I published Taxing Matters, weekly articles to explain the complexities of taxes and estate planning in plain English.

I discovered that my readers needed an estate planning reference book that simplified the complicated lawyer-jargon and allowed readers to understand their needs for planning purposes. That’s when Your Estate Matters, was born – my book on estate planning and estate administration. Over time, I have also become well known regionally for my professional and public presentations, I like to think it’s because I’m funny and entertaining (as well as knowing my stuff).

These days, my writing projects still include estate and tax matters, especially the administration of very large trusts, but they also comprise of a variety of other topics that interest me outside of my profession. To learn more about my current work, check out my projects and blog.