By Karen Billing
Attorney Kristina Haymes wants to make sure that people prepare the best they can for life. She has first-hand experience of how estate planning can go wrong—as a lawyer, she’s seen the ugly aftermath of families divided over absent planning documents, and personally she felt the frustration and pain when her own father died suddenly with his wishes left unclear.
Now her Carmel Valley Haymes Law Group provides estate planning for growing families—setting up trusts, wills, advance directives, power of attorney and plans to protect children.
“It’s really a privilege to meet with people and talk about very important topics and plan for their future,” Haymes said. “Sometimes when you stop and think about the end, whether that’s tomorrow or 40 years from now, it makes people reflect on how they want to live their lives today. If you take the time to do that, people can make a positive difference in their lives.”
Haymes lives in Carmel Valley with her three sons, Jarod, Cristian and Aaron. Raised in San Diego, she attended San Dieguito High School before heading off to UC Santa Barbara and UC Berkeley Law.
Right out of law school she got a job at a big firm in San Francisco, where she stayed for five years.
“I didn’t enjoy the big firm lifestyle,” Haymes said, noting it just seemed to revolve around billable hours. “I didn’t have a sense that I was helping people.”
Haymes felt most at home when she started working with Personal Family Lawyers in 2009, a nation-wide group that most reflected her passions and philosophy toward law.
The group has no hourly billing just a flat fee and stresses being a personal, local family lawyer and not just someone you see once to fill in the blanks on the necessary paperwork.
“The goal is to have a lifetime relationship with the client, to be someone they can turn to and trust,” Haymes said.
Her job includes having conversations with clients that can be very confidential and emotional, about the things that matter most in life. A unique part of her offerings is her legacy videos, where clients record a video talking on different points about what they would like their loved ones to know when they are not around.
That kind of information can save a lot of money, minimize estate taxes, avoid probate and family fueding, but it also protects intangible wealth. Clients are passing on their stories, values and wisdom—sometimes money passed down without wisdom isn’t worth much at all, Haymes said.
Haymes also offers Personal Family Lawyers’ trademark Kids Protection Plan, designating both a long-term and short-term plan for children when something happens to their parents. The plan gives specific guidance to how clients would like their children to be raised in their absence.
“No one will raise your children like you will but if you don’t make choices that are legally binding, often times it is left up to a judge to decide,” Haymes said.
Haymes Law has a special running until June 15—any mom who makes an appointment for a complimentary, two-hour family wealth planning session will get a free manicure and pedicure. For more information, call (858) 794-1426 or visit haymeslawgroup.com.
Additionally, Haymes also wrote a chapter in the recently released book, “More than Money: How to Leave a Lasting Legacy to Your Family.” Haymes Law Group is located at 12707 High Bluff Drive, suite 200.