A Practice With Purpose

Murray Law Gives Clients Crucial Guidance With Estate Planning, Elder Law and More

Writer / Darcie Dodds Schott
Photographer / Tony Straw

What were your priorities when you turned 18? There’s a good chance that visiting a lawyer to create an estate plan was not on the list. Most young adults would only have a plan in place if a life-changing event occurred, such as the death of a loved one or a personal medical emergency.Murray Law

Tim Murray of Murray Law in Winamac takes strategic steps to change this perspective. He is passionate about educating people on the importance and accessibility of planning for their future, because the reality is that most people don’t address their estate planning matters until much later in life. When he asks people, “Do you have an estate plan in place?” and their answer is no, he makes an important point. “That’s incorrect, because at age 18, the state of Indiana has a plan in place for every individual,” he says. That plan likely doesn’t take what you want into account.

Murray understands that talking about legal matters is something most people try to avoid, so he approaches the discussion in a friendly manner to set people at ease. He and his team advertise on social media to reach a broad audience, and he holds monthly workshops in his office, every second Wednesday at 6 p.m. and third Tuesday at 10 a.m., which introduce topics important to estate planning and elder care. The workshops are free and open to the public, and a video recording of the workshop can always be found on the firm’s website. Anyone who attends in person or watches the workshop online is offered a free consultation and what Murray calls a Vision Meeting, where he gets to know people and educates them according to their unique needs.

This education can shine a light on factors people may never think about. “This is not your mother’s will from 40 years ago,” he says. “Rules and the laws are different today. Whether the matter is a will or a trust, education is key.”

Murray explains that everyone should have a plan as soon as they turn 18. The four most critical documents include a financial power of attorney, a health care directive, a will, and a trust, if called for.

He encourages people to subscribe to a maintenance program. This entails an annual meeting to review pertinent legal documents as well as updates on changes in life and the law, an annual members-only social event, and unlimited open communication with the Murray Law team. At age 18 a person’s legal review will usually be simple. Things can start to get more complicated at around age 35 when people may have more assets and dependents to care for, and more comprehensive planning may be needed, including asset protection and long-term health care issues. Murray says there is a payoff for being on a regular maintenance program because with proper maintenance, a person can be reassured that their estate plan will work during their lifetime and provide minimal burden for surviving family members later.

To support further education, each year Murray funds a scholarship that is awarded to a graduating senior at each of the two high schools in Pulaski County. He occasionally encounters a former scholarship recipient around town and enjoys hearing how the award impacted the student and their future. In addition to providing high school scholarships, he also employs a high school intern each school year to help the student learn office skills and gain confidence interacting with professional adults. This year’s intern is doing a fantastic job.

Murray LawMurray describes himself as having a servant heart. The staff at his firm know they have been on the receiving end of his caring approach. Long before the shortened work week became a common practice associated with the pandemic, he established a four-day work week for his staff.“That’s 52 Fridays off every year!” he says. The result has been far greater production since offering the shortened work week. He is proud to recognize his staff, which includes Funding Coordinator Tammy Brandt, who oversees transfers of property and insurance matters. Office Manager Lindsey Isaacs (or, as Murray calls her, “Chief of Lots of Things”) coordinates drafting documents, and Client Services Coordinator Victoria Roman manages after-death matters, including court probate and estate matters, which covers a broad range of scenarios – not just elder law. Last but not least is Mara Holehan, their high school intern in charge of scanning and answering phones.

Murray has practiced law for 34 years and says the greatest satisfaction in his practice is serving the families of his community. And he knows something about community. His family has been a part of the Winamac community for nearly 100 years. Other than living in the mountains of Colorado for a brief time, he has called Winamac home all his life. He and his wife, Joan, both farm kids and high school sweethearts, raised their four children in Winamac, and they are active members of St. Peter’s Catholic Church. He has served on the parish finance council, as an usher and eucharist minister, and as a Confraternity of Christian Doctrine teacher for over 18 years. “My life decisions and family all revolve around my faith,” he says.

An initiative at the Pulaski County Public Library in Winamac is another area where Murray lends his generosity. The Memory Care Backpack program provides tools to address memory loss and trigger improved memory. He is also a Junior Achievement volunteer, reads to students in the classroom, has coached youth soccer and basketball, been a 4-H supporter, and supports Boy Scout Troop 229, the same troop he was a member of as a young boy. He has been a guest speaker at countless organizations and events, and welcomes the opportunity to address and educate a variety of audiences.

Whether your estate planning needs are simple or complex, Murray’s door is open, and like he has been doing for more than 30 years, he will offer you his thoughtful expertise to make sure your most important matters are well-managed.

To attend one of Murray’s upcoming workshops, simply call the office at 574-946-7819 and the staff will help you register, or visit tmurraylaw.com to watch the online workshop.

Murray Law is located at 107 East Main Street in Winamac.Murray Law

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