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Firm Overview

We educate and counsel individuals and families regarding their estate plans, asset protection concerns, probate questions and issues of trust or estate administration. We facilitate family meetings and family retreats to promote the preservation of legacy, wealth and wisdom from one generation to the next.

After practicing at large national firms and smaller local firms, I established my law firm when a former client called asking to work with me on an individual basis stating that it was my approach as an educator and counselor at law that left her feeling empowered as she struggled to manage a complicated estate matter. My success of my practice is the result of word of mouth recommendations from current or former clients.

Example cases

Couples who have moved to their second home on the Cape on either a part-time or full-time basis often continue to work or consult professionally off-Cape. Typically these couples or individuals are retirement age and their estate plan documents were first created over 20 to 30 years ago when they had young children. At this point in time, these individuals often have assets at a level that would expose them to Massachusetts estate tax, so I prepare updated wills and revocable living trusts to take advantage of the available tax exemptions.

Main Office

Main
210 Main Street P.O. Box 1003
Orleans  MA  02653

Phone
  • (508) 255-1411
Fax
  • (508) 255-1443

Fees

Free Initial Consultation?

No. I am available for a 1.5 hour legal consultation for a flat fee of $350.

Services Offered For Fixed Fees?

At this point in time I am no longer accepting new clients into my practice; however I am available for one time legal consultation (see above).

I am also available to provide family wealth communications coaching, during which legal advice will not be provided, rather guidance and coaching for communicating among family members: 4 1.5 hour sessions for $600.

Hourly Rates

see above

Office Information

Office Hours

By appointment.

Emergency After Hours

No

How did your firm decide on the primary area of practice(s)?

My own family experience inheriting legacy, wealth and wisdom led me to seek out this practice area. In addition, my profound respect for the generations that came before me, forging a path and setting a standard, influenced my decision to enter a practice area where I can problem solve with and for families, as well as stand witness to their life experiences. Finally, my respect for human growth and development during our entire lifespan, not just infancy or adolescence, leads me to embrace a practice that confronts the challenge of end-of-life conversations and offers an opportunity to promote individual growth even in our final days.

What is your firm's point of view regarding clients educating themselves on legal issues?

I welcome clients who have taken some time to educate themselves regarding estate planning and probate issues. I believe a well educated client is an empowered client and my role as a Counselor At Law is to educate my client regarding the options available based on their individual circumstances, as well as to review the pros and cons of the different options.

Is your firm willing to review documents prepared by clients?

I am willing to review documents prepared by clients, so long as I have information regarding where the client obtained any templates or forms used to create their documents.

Is your firm willing to coach clients who want to represent themselves?

In this area of practice, once a client has an estate plan set-up, they often require coaching as certain life events arise, so coaching is already a natural extension of my practice. I do not litigate estate planning or probate matters, so I am not available to advise clients in such matters.

Gwynne Wiatrowski Guzzeau

After graduating from law school, I practiced in large firms in the D.C. Metro area where I received a sophisticated level of training and experience. After relocating to my hometown of Orleans, Massachusetts, I received training and experience with Massachusetts estate planning laws and practice in small local firms.

Prior to law school, I was an educator, researcher and consultant in alternative educational settings. In particular, I worked at Harvard Graduate School of Education, assisting Howard Gardner, David Perkins and other leading psychologists in the development of curriculum and critical thinking frameworks.

Between my education career and law school, I spent a year out west where I worked on a 25,000 acre cattle ranch in Southeastern Montana.

As a Counselor At Law, I listen. My pursuit of professional education and training to refine my communication, counseling and coaching skills makes me a better advocate for each client's individual circumstances. I am a firm believer that in estate planning, in particular, the legal documents are only as good as the communication you have with your family about your wishes for everything from end-of-life care to the distribution of your Hummel collection. My background as an educator and my skills as a facilitator contribute to my effectiveness in guiding family meetings and family retreats.

As mentioned in the previous questions, my strengths include problem solving and strategic planning. As a Counselor At Law, my approach with clients is collaborative and my goal is to listen and educate clients regarding the options available given their circumstances.

Personal interests:

Creative writing. Visiting new playgrounds or community parks. Walks on the beach or a simple game of fetch with our dog, Ginger. Movies. Books. Poetry.

License
  • Bar Number: 662930
    Massachusetts , 2005
  • Bar Number: 44125
    Virginia , 1999
  • Bar Number:
    District of Columbia , 2002
Education
  • Georgetown University Law Center
    J.D. , 1999
    Washington, DC
    Federal Legislation Clinic and International Environmental Law Review.
  • Wheelock College Graduate School
    M.S. , 1993
    Boston, MA
    Elementary Education.
  • Wellesley College
    B.A. , 1988
    Wellesley, MA
    American Studies with a concentration on Families in the United States.

* Nolo has confirmed that every member attorney has a valid license and is in good standing with the state agency that licenses lawyers. Any past disbarments and suspensions (with possible exceptions for minor violations or nonpayment of dues, in our discretion) will be indicated accordingly in the badge. Member attorneys are required to notify Nolo immediately if they become the subject of any disciplinary action by any state licensing agency.

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