Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

This is Valerie VanBooven with the Senior Care Industry NetCast, where leaders with three or more years of experience in the senior care industry share their advice. So let’s get to it. Tell us who you are and what you do.

Jamie Miller:

Thank you, Valerie. My name is Jamie Miller. I’m an attorney and mediator. I own J. Miller Law Firm in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Awesome. Okay. And so, tell us a little bit more about the elder law practice and what kind of services you guys provide?

Jamie Miller:

Sure. So for the estate planning side of my practice, it’s wills and trust, obviously. I also like to at least have the conversation about power of attorney and advanced directives. Those are documents that would impact someone while they’re living but perhaps incapacitated. A good idea to have those in place as well. And then for the probate side, that would be if someone has a will or has nothing in place, then probate would be needed. So that’s the-

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Awesome.

Jamie Miller:

… estate planning and probate.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Great. And these are lots of conversations that we need to have and often don’t.

Jamie Miller:

Yes. Yes. They’re uncomfortable, but people tend to tell me they feel better after they do.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yes, absolutely. And the family feels better.

Jamie Miller:

Yes.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

I mean, certainly not having to make these decisions without the input of the person who is having a health crisis or whatever is really hard. So doing it in advance is a really nice thing to do.

Jamie Miller:

Absolutely.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

All right. So what is the best thing about serving aging adults and their family?

Jamie Miller:

Sure. So my practice philosophy just in general for all of my clients is to be proactive, to focus on minimizing problems, and avoiding surprises. So when we’re talking about aging adults and estate planning, they typically… they’re facing their own mortality. They’ve decided they’ve put off decisions. They’ve decided they want to get a plan in place and make the process after their death easier for their families. And they all tell me they don’t want their kids, they don’t want their family members to fight. That’s very important to them. And so, the practice philosophy of being proactive and preventing problems in that context is to really find out what their goals are. What do they want to happen? So, sometimes, they have a preconception of what they think they have to do or should do. Whether that’s putting the oldest child in charge and maybe that’s not the best choice. But what do they really want to happen? And just be very clear about that and get sometimes the emotions behind that, and then put that in writing for a plan that makes sense to them.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

All right. Absolutely. I think all of these things that we tend to put off are… I mean, the peace of mind that comes with having everything in place and ready to go and having a will written, having maybe a trust, anything that will prevent people from fighting or help people with understanding your decisions. Oh my goodness. There’s nothing that replaces that at the end because it’s very interesting. And I’m sure you see this a lot.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Is that when someone becomes ill or incapacitated, or they pass away, all of a sudden people aren’t getting along sometimes.

Jamie Miller:

Right. Right.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

So it’s always a great idea if you want to avoid that for people to… And it doesn’t matter if you’re a millionaire.

Jamie Miller:

No.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Or you have very little to your name. People still finding a way to get upset with each other.

Jamie Miller:

Sure. Well, what I find, it’s often not even about the money. It’s about the emotions and the history behind that and how they feel about their relationship, their position in the family. That’s sometimes a lot of it too.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah. It’s that historical, those arguments that happened 20 years ago.

Jamie Miller:

Right.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

And similar things that have happened in their lifetime. So you probably are a really good counselor along with being a really good attorney.

Jamie Miller:

That is part of it. Thank you.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Okay. I would imagine in your lifetime and in your career, your adult life, there have been people, there have been organizations. Sometimes people have mentioned their parents or grandparents, or sometimes people talk about organizations that mean a lot to them. What has been the catalyst for your career decision?

Jamie Miller:

So I really wanted to run my practice a particular way and to be very communicative with clients. And to only take the clients where it was a good fit. Where I felt I could best serve them and that I was the best attorney for them. So I don’t do a lot of advertising. There’s no walk-ins. I really focus on relationship, just in general, in my practice. As far as seniors, my grandfather had COPD for about 20 years, and just his philosophy in how he handled that and managed it and lived much, much longer than anyone thought he would was just really inspiring for me.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah. I think a lot of our family members are oftentimes… and our family experiences in our lifetime are often part of how we make decisions about what we do in our lives.

Jamie Miller:

Sure.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

And that’s awesome.

Jamie Miller:

And my grandmother had Alzheimer’s. I have participated in their walks in prior years and raise funds. I’m a former board member for the American Parkinson’s Disease Association for Tulsa, and a member of the Tulsa Interagency Council, which is a great network of senior providers in different areas that get together for education and networking.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah. And I mean, I’m sure those organizations are doing a fabulous job too. I mean, the advocacy and all of the fundraising that goes into research or just to help folks in your local area. All those organizations are so important. So great. That’s awesome. All right. I understand that [inaudible 00:06:18] talk a little bit about online marketing, and I understand that it can be ever-changing, it can be confusing. And I know that in your case, you have to kind of be careful about what you say.

Jamie Miller:

Sure.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

So, what are your experience or thoughts about online marketing, especially at a time where it’s really hard? It still is. And we’re looking at maybe back to some sense of normalcy, maybe toward the end of this year, when vaccines are readily available to everyone. How has online marketing impacted your business and especially in the last year or so?

Jamie Miller:

Sure. So I would say I really have never done traditional online marketing or spending money on advertising or things like that. What I have always done is a lot of education. So I’m very active on social media, but my posts are a lot of information or links or resources. I do a lot of speaking events now through Zoom, but in different times in-person to connect with people that way. So it’s mostly finding opportunities to connect with people, especially seniors, in something very sensitive, like planning. They are probably not going to trust their secrets, their history, and their money to someone just from an ad. They want to kind of know them, like them, trust them, know someone who knows them, things like that.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yep, absolutely. It’s who you like, trust, and know that you’re going to probably do business with.

Jamie Miller:

Right.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

So, getting to know you via… maybe an introduction happens because they find you on social media or see something you posted or something you’ve written and then moving on from there with a phone conversation or a Zoom call.

Jamie Miller:

Right.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah. I can see definitely it’s more challenging for advertising. But for social media and even I find that for some of our elder law attorney friends and our estate planning friends that writing some articles often helps.

Jamie Miller:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

And it keeps the word out, especially right now when it’s hard to do those speaking engagements.

Jamie Miller:

It is.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

But thank goodness for Zoom because here we are. And you can meet clients over Zoom, and it makes it all happen.

Jamie Miller:

Sure.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

All right. What piece of advice would you give to other senior care providers or providers that are in the estate planning space?

Jamie Miller:

Sure. So I think seniors really want the same things we all want. They want understanding and respect and to be listened to. So if you treat people well, and that’s just a core value, in my opinion, everything else will fall into place. But in this particular time, I think we’re all a little frustrated with technology, as many benefits as there are to it. There are some frustrations, and seniors, in particular, can be frustrated by that. So we have to balance how do we make sure we’re safe? But also kind of meeting their communication needs as well?

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah, absolutely. I think being listened to is something we all deserve, and it’s a part of being a dignified provider is to be a good listener and to make sure their voices are heard.

Jamie Miller:

Right.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

And I know you do a lot of that in your practice, making sure the senior’s voice is heard.

Jamie Miller:

Yes. Yeah.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah. So, all right. Last question supposed to be a fun one. I know that it’s a little challenging in the last several months. But when you have a win in life for business, how do you like to celebrate?

Jamie Miller:

Honestly, I’m not great at it. It is something I recognize, and I’m working on it. But I’m someone who likes to celebrate with things like experiences and events. And we’re a little short on that right now. But it’s something I need to do better on. I tend to just move on to the next thing.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah. I think all of us who are service providers especially, I don’t know how to explain this. But in the senior care business, whether it’s from the legal perspective or hands-on caregiving, we are sort of a social… I don’t know, social service isn’t the [inaudible 00:10:40] exactly. But we’re more of givers, and we-

Jamie Miller:

Yes, [crosstalk 00:10:43]-

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

… certainly tend not to celebrate as much, but I think you just take in the moment and realizing that… I mean, you’ve helped so many families in your career, I’m sure. So just taking a moment and realizing that everything’s going to be okay when this person does end up passing away. Or the caregiver leaves the house and thinks, “We had a good day today.”

Jamie Miller:

Right.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Celebrating those little things for that senior is always worth it. So, but I understand right now, it’s really hard to have fun experiences unless they’re outside. And then when it’s in the middle of winter, it’s even more tough to have [crosstalk 00:11:20]-

Jamie Miller:

Right. I’ll celebrate in the spring.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Right. Right. Some of us have to wait for warmer weather.

Jamie Miller:

Right.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

All right. Well, I want to thank you for being on the show and sharing your wisdom and sharing your profession with us, and telling us a little bit more about what you do and who you help. That’s what this is all about. So thank you very much.

Jamie Miller:

Thank you for the opportunity.