Robert (Bob) Graham has been serving families in Zanesville, Ohio, Muskingum County, and surrounding communities for over 40 years. He says he had no better reason to join in the practice of law beyond a desire to follow in his family footsteps. This love of and loyalty to his own family also drives him to help other families that need supportive legal counsel in planning their estates.
In the area of estate planning, Bob gets to know his clients, their families, and their goals. He crafts estate plans—wills, medical directives, and trusts—that simplify the effect of death by reducing probate expense and address potential inter-family conflict while keeping the individual’s wishes intact.
“No one wants to think about their death or that of their loved ones,” explains Bob. “But without an estate plan, you risk losing everything you worked for over the years, or worse, leaving your family fighting over medical decisions, material possessions, or financial assets. It costs very little time and money to gain the peace of mind that your intentions will be well-served or that your family will have a relatively smooth probate experience following their loss.”
Principled, Trustworthy Estate Planning
“A referral from a satisfied client is the greatest compliment I can receive,” Bob explains. “A referral means that I’m not only doing my job on the legal side but also that my counsel is honest—that I truly care.”
Over the years, Bob has accumulated both experience and wisdom. Frequently, new clients arrive at his office with little or no idea of what is involved in planning for their estate or their family’s future. He believes firmly that his job is not just to draft a legal document, but rather to offer them a road map, a steady hand, and practical advice. His principled approach to estate planning—and trustworthy guidance—ensures that family needs and desires are heard and met. After taking a deep dive into the nuts and bolts of their assets and considering any special needs, requests, or sensitive family issues, he develops a plan that best fits their circumstances and requirements for their approval. His acute interest in his client’s well-being earns him life-long, valued relationships, even across generations.
Of course, like life itself, an estate plan evolves. What was proper at one point will change as circumstances shift; such as a marriage, divorce, career or employment status, or when children leave the nest. That is why Bob recommends everyone review their estate plans at three- to five-year intervals, and particularly when any significant life event occurs.
Making the Case
Bob receives many client referrals because he cares, but also because he is a smart lawyer when it comes to addressing the needs and resolving the problems that face families. Among his greatest strengths is his ability to focus on the relevant facts of a case, not just the emotional issues that consume his clients.
The key in his work is designing the “theme of the case,” such that the evidence and the law shows the judge what feasibly supports his client’s goals. He knows the law and strives to provide proof. Good judges want good lawyering. They count on the attorney to present enough proof to “do right” by every family, and Bob delivers.
“On the client side,” Bob says, “gathering all the facts and setting client expectations is key to obtaining the best result. I help my clients understand the limits of what the law permits, so they can see exactly what is possible and what is going on throughout the legal process. I find this transparency relieves a lot of their stress, affords them a range of predictability, and allows them to focus on what is necessary to maintain a semblance of civility in front of judges or other adverse parties.”
Bob’s clients are very special to him, and he frequently develops lifelong friendships through his professional relationships. His involvement with his clients also reaches into the community, which includes years of volunteer service. Among his charitable activities are hospice fundraising and serving on the boards of the Sheltered Workshop for the developmentally disabled and the local food and clothing bank. Bob is also active in his church community.