Women Who Move West Michigan – 2021 – Special Section
Attorney and Partner
Coonen Law, PLLC
5035 Plainfield NE, Ste. A | Grand Rapids, MI 49525 | 616-951-1531
Rose Coonen, attorney and owner of Coonen Law, PLLC, graduated magna cum laude from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in 2003. She has extensive experience in probate and trust administration, estate planning, and business planning. Coonen started her career as a general practice attorney, but soon found that estate planning and business planning were areas where she could have the most impact on families and in the community. Seeing the many ways that an estate plan can fail, she devotes her time and her practice to helping families set up the legal safeguards they need, such as wills, powers of attorney, trusts, patient advocate designations, and even child protection plans to avoid any missteps.
Beyond simply a preparer of necessary documents, Coonen serves as a personal family lawyer to many, ensuring their plans continue to work for them throughout their lives and after their deaths. “This seemed to be an area where I could really help people to avoid court and avoid conflict,” Coonen says. “I’ve come across enough plans that people thought were written correctly and they weren’t — and they didn’t work when they needed them. It’s my goal to prevent that stress and heartache.”
Coonen’s mission with her firm has been to get the word out and educate people; to show them that if they have a plan and it hasn’t been updated, or hasn’t been reviewed recently, that there’s potential that it may not serve them. And, if they don’t have a plan, they need to, because the state will provide a default plan for them, and it may not be what they desire.
“I’ve seen so many families that have gone through probate court or have been tied up in litigation for years and it’s just destroyed their relationships. Nobody wins,” Coonen says. “So, that’s what drives me. I seek to understand how we can protect the family and provide not just a plan, but preserve those relationships and also provide a legacy.”
One of the ways Coonen works to inform families and help them take the necessary steps toward creating an estate plan before they need it; before it’s too late, is to host free webinars. Through these resources, people see what happens when the don’t plan or they don’t review their existing plans regularly — and how putting in the effort today can save time, money, and struggle in the long run.
While having the right documentation in place is extremely important, Coonen recognizes that these safeguards often need to be taken a step further, especially for families with minor children. She urges those clients to work with her to set up child protection plans that will fill in the gaps. In addition to long-term guardians, families should name short-term guardians in case of emergencies, as well as create detailed instructions they can give to babysitters and caregivers. “These enhanced plans add an extra level of security and peace of mind that can be invaluable in times of crisis,” Coonen says.
Coonen also works frequently with families with children with special needs. In that arena, there’s a greater need for a plan that encompasses every individual and addresses different family dynamics. These holistic plans ensure that everyone is on the same page and the details are spelled out, and there’s no potential for conflict or having to go to probate court.
She recently published a book on special needs planning called Estate Planning When You have A Child With Special Needs: Plan Your Estate Well, At The Right Time.It serves as a guide for parents on what to look at for different ages and stages of a child’s life, and provides information that empowers them to make their own decisions.
Coonen is supported by a small, but powerful team. Jenna Dolezan (not pictured), client services director, focuses on delivering outstanding service and prioritizing client relationships. She shepherds clients through the process and acts as a liaison between them and members of the firm. Amy Anderson, legal assistant, responds to client inquiries and oversees the daily operations of the firm to make sure things run smoothly. Brooke Knapp, director of marketing, handles marketing and social media presences, as well as preparing educational materials.
Coonen Law, PLLC, is celebrating its 10-year anniversary in 2021. In the last decade, they have helped clients protect over $149 million in assets through estate planning. “We’re proud that our clients have allowed us to serve them and help them protect those assets,” Coonen says. “My goal is to be a trusted advisor who helps families make the very best personal, financial, and legal decisions.”