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Meet Crista Hermance of Hermance Law – Estate Planning Mom

Today we’d like to introduce you to Crista Hermance.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Crista. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
About four years ago, I was an associate attorney at a firm in Westlake Village and I had just had my first child. I did not want to go back to working long hours and be away from my new baby. I decided to go out on my own as a solo-practitioner so that I could create a flexible schedule that worked for me and my new baby.

As I started putting the processes in place from my estate planning practice, I noticed that most of the planning and education that was out there focused more on older people and people retiring. As a new mom, my concern was more around families that had young children and how to plan for them. Looking at the industry, it didn’t seem like there was any information readily available to parents with minor children and how they could put plans in place to protect them.

For the last three years, I have been working on building an estate planning practice that focuses on educating and planning for families with minor children.

Has it been a smooth road?
As a mom with two young children (2 and 4), I am always trying to balance being a mom while also managing my estate planning practice. My goal when I started was to be able to create a flexible schedule that worked for my family. Most of the time it works. I have specific days I am in the office and available to meet with clients which is 2 to 3 days a week. However, since I have a flexible schedule, I often meet with clients in the evenings and some weekend and I also present to groups throughout the community some nights. This causes me to be away from my girls a little more than I want some weeks. Luckily I have a very supportive husband that manages the house and kids when I am gone. I am always working at trying to set the “perfect” schedule for my family but it is a work-in-progress all the time.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Hermance Law – Estate Planning Mom story. Tell us more about the business.
We are an estate planning law firm that focuses on educating parents on how they can protect their minor children through estate planning. We don’t only work with young families, as we do have quite a few older clients but we do focus on getting out and educating the community in regards to planning with minor children. Our staff is made up of parents, mostly moms, who work very flexible schedules to allow them to be able to be home for their kids when they need to be. Some staff work in the office while others work from their home.

Our practice is very technology driven to make it easy for busy parents. We try to do everything we can online starting with scheduling an appointment online, completing an online worksheet, fee agreement is signed online, invoicing and payments are done online and we have a secure client portal that allows clients to log in and send us messages and submit documents. We really utilize technology which has also allowed us to expand to serving clients throughout the state of California which we now do virtually using Zoom.

Our office is like no law firm you have seen. It is a kid-friendly office with kid-friendly snacks, coloring books, stickers, books, toys, trains, legos, television, lots of toys and a baby swing. My thought when building the firm was that parents shouldn’t have to worry about finding a babysitter, they could bring their kids with them to get their planning done. We even have a {Free} Seminar once a quarter for parents educating them on estate planning where we provide childcare during the seminar.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
The legal field has been the same for a long time. I feel like technology is now allowing it to expand more and get a little more creative then you would normally assume from a law firm. Generally, lawyers charge on what’s called a billable hourly rate. This can make legal work challenging for some clients as they don’t know how much something may cost. Our firm does all of our estate planning packages on a flat-fee basis. This allows clients to know exactly how much something will cost so that they can budget with no hidden fees for phone calls or e-mails with questions. I can see some practice areas in the legal field moving more towards flat fee pricing for clients.

Another area that I think is taking off is social media and having an online presence. While it is not new for our society using these technology platforms, it is not something that is widely used in law firms. We have embraced technology and social media and found that it is one of the best ways to get our message out to young parents and explain all of the different ways to plan. We are on Instagram (@estateplanningmom), Facebook (Hermance Law), we have a YouTube channel (Hermance Law), a blog on our website (www.HermanceLaw.com) and we have a mailing list to continually provide important information on how to put plans in place to protect minor children. Our community of parents are on social media so why not make it easy for them to get this information. I hope that more firms move to having an online presence in the future.

Contact Info:

  • Address: 1500 Palma Drive, Suite 270, Ventura, CA 93003
    (Coming Soon – Opening locations in Westlake Village, Santa Clarita, Calabasas, and Pasadena)

Image Credit:
Roy Culver, Photographer

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