Twice as nice: Estate attorney with twins enjoys best of both worlds


By Jeanine Matlow
Legal News

Kristina Barsch always wanted to be an attorney. While attending University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, she took a class regarding wills and estates and found herself drawn to the idea of helping clients plan for the future.     

“I enjoy helping families put one of their greatest worries to rest, making sure their affairs are in order,” she says. “The challenge is always getting people, no matter the age, to understand the importance of a comprehensive estate plan.”

Today, she is a partner in her own firm, Barsch & Joswick, in Sterling Heights where her areas of practice include estate planning, probate, elder law, and special needs planning.

“The decision to open my own practice was one that I grappled with for some time,” Barsch says. “It was a big risk and one that I am glad to have taken.”

Now, she is the mother of two-year-old twins.

But, before she had children, Barsch was on the Board of Directors for FernCare Free Clinic Inc., a medical clinic in Ferndale that provides free medical care to the uninsured. 

“It is truly an amazing organization,” she says. “When I learned I was having twins, I stepped down from my position on the board, as I knew I would not be able to fulfill my duties as a board member and take care of newborn twins.”

Ann Heler, board president of Ferncare, says Barsch is detailed in a wonderful sense.

“That’s what you want,” Heler says. “She was excellent at giving direction, just great. She would review corporate documents and she was so organized and so calm. She’s just so welcoming and approachable.”

For the last 10 years, Barsch and her husband, Michael Shuler, have been busy renovating their 1920s Tudor in Ferndale. Though the home was structurally sound, she says it needed some TLC. The original leaded glass windows and wood doors were still intact, but all the woodwork needed to be refinished.

Due to severe staining, they had to replace the hardwood floors on the main floor of the home. They also replaced the majority of the lights in the house with period appropriate fixtures and those original to the house were professionally restored.

They recently enclosed a second-story porch to extend the nursery and converted an existing mudroom into a half-bath on the main floor.

“My husband and I did all the painting, refinished the woodwork, and landscaped the yard ourselves, while the larger projects were all done professionally,” says Barsch, who credits Ferndale-based Dan Davis Design for all of their help along the way.

Barsch is an avid reader and she loves to travel. If she weren’t an attorney, she’d like to be a travel writer.

Music has always been a big part of her life. 

“My mother loved music and as a child I always remember her playing music while we did chores or while we were outside in the yard,” she says.  
Her favorite artist is Van Morrison.

“I still remember the day one of my older brothers introduced me to his music. I was about 10 years old and my brother had just returned home from college for a visit, we were in the car and he played ‘Cleaning Windows’ and it remains one of my favorite songs to this day. I have seen him play live twice here in Detroit,” Barsch says.

Her husband shares her love for music.

“Before we had children, we spent a lot of our free time attending concerts. While we haven’t been to many concerts since our children were born, we did get a chance to see Buddy Guy last fall at Meadow Brook, and it was a fantastic show,” she says.

Becoming the mother of twins has changed her life in every aspect, both personally and professionally. 

“Most importantly having children has taught me to appreciate the small things in life,” she says. “While I love what I do, I now spend my time away from the office focused on my children.”

Barsch has some sound advice for others who are trying to juggle everything.

“Have a great support system and an open and honest relationship with your spouse or partner,” she says. “Having good time management skills is key to being able to both run a business and have a family.”