Attorney finds his niche in estate planning, probate, and elder law

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By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

Estate planning is not about protecting your “stuff,” notes attorney Dinesh Chawla, who specializes in this field.

“It’s really about protecting you, your intentions, and your power to make decisions over what happens to you and your ‘stuff,’” he says. “It gives you the ability to maintain control into incapacity and from beyond the grave.”

Estate Law impacts every person, he adds, and there are many fascinating niches within the Estate Planning/Probate/Elder Law specialty.

“It also allows me to be creative,” he says. “Estate Planning is only at the mercy of the law, public policy, and your imagination. If it’s not against the law, or public policy—or just really not a good idea—we can usually get it done,” he says.

Chawla, who services clients in Macomb, St. Clair and Oakland counties, enjoyed a business law class in high school, and later saw people with MBAs getting promotions.

“I figured a degree in law would give me some skills an MBA did not have, so at first, it was more of a ‘competitive advantage’ type of scenario,” he says.

After earning his undergrad degree in communication studies from the University of Michigan, Chawla obtained his law degree from Detroit Mercy Law, where he enjoyed his classmates and Family Law and Estate Planning Law Firm programs.

“Both practicing partners that led those courses became mentors, and one a good friend,” he says.

Chawla notes the importance of medical power of attorney especially during the pandemic; and general power of attorney for parents over their children.

“It’s a control issue,” he says. “No parent wants to see their child suffering. I have a 5-year-old boy and a 3-year-old boy and it destroys me to even see them cough. I can currently control the situation. I can take them to the doctor, decide what care they can be treated with, and make their decisions for them.

“Once a child turns 18, they are their own person in the eyes of the law. It doesn’t matter if they are still living with you, or on your insurance, or you are paying for it—a doctor does not have to give you any medical information on your own child. A bank does not have to give you access to their accounts. Powers of Attorney—General for legal and financial decisions and Health Care for medical decisions—can solve that problem without having to go to court for a guardianship or conservatorship, or both, proceeding.

“This is also true for married couples,” he adds. “The institution of marriage does not give you the right to make medical, legal, or financial decisions for your spouse. Absent Powers of Attorney, you’re giving up your control to the courts.”

Chawla Legal Group offers traditional estate planning, asset protection planning, Medicaid planning, disability and special needs planning, and business succession planning, and also hosts several free workshops throughout the year.

“Our workshops use both personal experiences and those of colleagues to educate the public on what options there are to maintain the control they want,” he says. “We stress planning for while you are alive and well; when you’re sick but not dead; if you develop Alzheimer’s or dementia; and when you die. We discuss common concepts and misconceptions regarding what wills and trusts do, what options are available for long-term care planning, what options are available for business succession planning, what options are available for asset protection and preservation, and what options there are in the—currently—rare event your estate might get taxed. We talk about pitfalls and red flags when choosing various professionals to help manage you and your stuff.

“The workshops are a complementary service we provide to the community with no obligation to hire us. We just want to make sure people are making informed decisions about who and what they are getting when it comes to managing their intentions and their assets.”

His experience in health care compliance gave Chawla a good grasp of how different government systems work to help the beneficiaries (Medicare).

“It got me in tune with a lot of health needs of the elder population which has partially fed my passion for helping the elderly,” he says.

A native of Troy, Chawla now resides in New Baltimore in Macomb County, and enjoys living and working in the greater Detroit area.

“Hands down, what I enjoy most are the people,” he says.

In addition to his two sons, Chawla’s family includes a sister and two nephews.

“And my dad, who is my hero and guide in just about everything I do,” he says.

In his leisure time, Chawla likes to golf, spend time with his children and nephews, and his father—“and spend time on myself whether it’s an activity or learning more, and spend time on honing my craft as an attorney and business owner,” he says.


 

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