Experienced estate planning attorney joins firm

Via NEWS-PRESS – LEE COUNTY, Fla.- Written by Nancy Oben noben@news-press.com

For Thomas E. Shipp Jr., some of his best days are when clients write him a note saying thank you.

Shipp, an attorney with more than 30 years of experience in wills, trusts and estate planning, said he works with families dealing with difficult situations when a loved one passes.

“They’re relying on their confidence in me,” Shipp said.

Shipp, who has worked in Southwest Florida since 1980, recently joined the Martin Law Firm’s principal office in Cape Coral. He said he’s very happy with the new affiliation.

“It’s very exciting to go from a history of a solo practice and small partnerships to an organization that’s a group practice where a client can get many services under one roof,” Shipp said.

The Martin Law Firm is run by husband and wife team Steven E. Martin and Eviana J. Martin. The firm also has offices in Fort Myers and Naples. Steven Martin said he’s glad to have Shipp’s level of experience added to his firm.

“Tom’s been in practice for 30 years and we haven’t,” Martin said. “It’s exciting for us to get Tom’s depth and breadth of experience.”

Eviana Martin agreed, adding, “It’s important to get someone with experience in wills and trusts.”

Shipp, who has been at the firm for almost two months, said with a laugh that he’s getting all the old man jokes in the office. He said that in some firms, lawyers can be territorial but at the Martin Law Firm it’s more like a family.

“What’s really impressed me here is Steve and Eviana created a tight team, working together and helping each other out. I think it’s very unique,” Shipp said.

Although he jokes around in the office, Shipp is serious about his profession. He said that he focuses on the needs of clients in order to gain their trust because they rely on him to make the proper arrangements. He said you don’t get that reassurance when you prepare the documents yourself on the Internet.

“I want to be here when a person decided I need an attorney for a will or a trust,” Shipp said. “It’s part of the ability (of the client) to sit down and get personal advice from someone you have confidence in. With us, you don’t get a printed set of directions, or a toll-free number to call, you get a person.”

Shipp said some of the hardest hurdles he has to overcome are documents that were not properly prepared and he said these documents often affect the family members who have been left behind.

“It’s not just about the money the people inherit based on those documents,” he said. “It’s about the relationship of the family and how conflict can tear those relationships apart or how this moment could bring people closer together.”