Margaret E. Wood, Esq.
McCarthy Summers Bobko Wood Norman Bass & Melby, P.A., Stuart, FL
Hi Peggy, Can you give us a brief introduction?
I have practiced estate planning, probate, and Trust administration with McCarthy, Summers for the better part of a decade. I help clients to think through some challenging and emotional issues – who do they want to act on their behalf if they are unable to do so? Who do they want to receive their assets after their demise? How should they address potential tax consequences? These are complex and difficult decisions that require knowledge, experience, and skill, as well as empathy and understanding.
When and why did you move to the Treasure Coast?
Florida is my adopted home state, having been born a Marylander. After attending college at the University of Maryland-College Park, just outside of Washington, D.C., I moved to Chapel Hill, North Carolina to attend the University of North Carolina School of Law. Immediately following graduation, I moved to Florida to clerk for Judge Carole Y. Taylor of the Fourth District Court of Appeal in West Palm Beach. Clerking provided me with the invaluable opportunity to hone my research, writing, and legal analysis skills.
After meeting my husband, we decided to make Martin County our home, and we have now lived here for almost a decade. The Treasure Coast is a wonderful place to live – at any stage of life – and has so much to offer. I am fortunate to currently serve on the Boards of two terrific organizations that serve our area: the Treasure Coast Children’s Museum and the YMCA of the Treasure Coast. Being involved in the community where I work and live is important to me, and I believe it ultimately enhances the service I provide to my clients as well.
Can you tell us about your family?
My husband, who is also a Florida transplant, is employed by FP&L. We have a beautiful, spunky five-year old daughter and one aging rescue cat. I’m fortunate that my mom and my husband’s father live locally and are able to enjoy time with our daughter.
Can you tell a short story about your professional philosophy and how that has helped people?
I’m entering the “sandwich generation,” where I am caring for my own child while also being in a position to care for my mother. As I watch my mother age and I take on a caregiver role, it gives me a new appreciation for the challenges that my clients and their families face. Additionally, I also lost my father recently. Handling his estate was my first “personal” experience with estate administration. I now know what it is like to sit on the other side of the proverbial table!
These experiences highlighted for me that these are tough issues that our clients face. While I practice law day in and day out, my clients do not. Furthermore, each client is unique and different, with their own particular concerns. I strive to give each client the attention and understanding that they deserve.
What do you love about what you do?
I am the child of two educators, and one of the most enjoyable parts of my job is breaking down the sometimes-confusing topics of estate planning and estate/Trust administration into terms that are understandable. If I can bring some comfort to a client about their estate plan or the probate process, I feel immense satisfaction.
In addition to teaching clients, I engage in a lot of listening. Many of my clients are living at a distance from their families. In addition to seeking legal guidance, they want to be heard and to tell their stories. Our clients have had remarkable lives, and it is such a pleasure to hear about their experiences. I feel honored that they trust their legal affairs to our team.
Tell me about your team within the law firm of McCarthy Summers Bobko Wood Norman Bass & Melby, P.A.?
In the Trusts & Estates Department, I work with four seasoned paralegals – Kim, Sandy, Tonya, and Sue. They are very knowledgeable and are a great resource for our clients. Since estate planning and probate and Trust administration touch many areas of law, I also often collaborate with the other departments in our firm. Our firm is prepared to address many areas of law, making us a “one stop shop” for our clients.