Statistics demonstrate that in the United States, women are four times more likely to outlive their spouses than men, and many women will spend more than 15 years as widows. When unprepared, a surviving wife may find herself overwhelmed by myriad unanswered questions and an avalanche of legal and financial responsibilities.
Attorney Amanda Hespen witnessed this first-hand when her father was diagnosed with cancer and passed away just a few months later, leaving her mother a widow with little time to prepare for the whiplash of loss. Hespen was in her second year at William Mitchell College of Law at the time, and she felt compelled to develop her legal expertise in a way that would equip her to give other families peace of mind by helping them plan for the future.
Today, Hespen is a partner at Jeffery P. Scott & Associates LLC, where she assists clients with estates and trusts; probate and trust administration; and guardianship and conservatorship matters. The firm has helped generations of Minnesotans plan for the future and has earned a reputation for doing so with proficiency and compassion.
“We are a small firm with a very personal approach, and we do our best to make people feel as comfortable as possible,” Hespen said. “I know that my mother still deals with her feelings of grief since losing my father, and I can bring sensitivity to that scenario. I really enjoy working with widows and offering them a more personal understanding of their situation that extends beyond the legal issues. I think some women prefer to work with another woman who can see things from her perspective, and who can bring care and compassion from another woman.”
Hespen frequently works with women who have not been in charge of the family’s finances, and her skillful counseling is their link to an empowered future. “It’s a chaotic time in their lives. I make sure that not only their financial needs are met, but that their questions are answered and they understand that they can take over this role. They need someone in their corner to tell them, ‘It’s okay. You can do this.’”
As the mother of two young children, Hespen also values the opportunity to assist young families who are seeking her help in planning for disability or death. “So many times the practice of law involves conflict or controversy. I feel fortunate to practice in an area where oft en, our clients are here because they are being proactive, and we help bring them peace of mind.”
Hespen and her colleagues operate on the belief that no two people are alike, and they strive to create individual solutions with insight and sensitivity. “We understand that people don’t want to talk about death. They also assume that an estate plan will be very expensive, or that working with an attorney will be difficult. Our practice is flexible, and we try to make our services affordable. We’re all very approachable, and we want to make this as easy as possible on people. In the end, most of our clients tell us the process was so much easier than they thought it would be, and they are so happy they did it.”
The flexibility of the practice also extends to life outside of the firm, ensuring that clients are receiving care from professionals who are refreshed and focused. “We try our hardest to make sure our clients’ needs are met and that we are always responsive. We want to provide the best possible service in the most personal and compassionate way, and I think part of the reason we can be so helpful is because we also have fulfilling lives outside the office. We’re here to do great work, and we love what we do. But we also recognize the need for balance, so we can bring our best selves to our work.”