Q & A with Attorney Maggie Cook
Margaret Cook has joined the law firm as an Associate Attorney. Maggie has several years of experience in the areas of estate planning, probate, guardianship/conservatorship, and elder law. Welcome aboard, Maggie!
Learn more about Maggie in this Q&A
Q: Where did you grow up? How long have you lived in the area? Tell us about your family.
I was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio. My dad is an attorney and my mom is an employee relations manager. I have one younger sister who just received her master’s in social work. I moved to Minnesota in the summer of 2012 to attend law school. My husband is an assistant county attorney in Wabasha. We met in law school and currently live in Red Wing.
Q: Tell us about the events that led you to where you are now (i.e. education, career path).
My career path stems back to my first job in high school, where I worked as server in an independent living facility. After graduating high school in 2008, I attended Miami University of Ohio. I double-majored in Strategic Communication and Gerontology. Having enjoyed working with the older population in high school, I decided to take a gerontology course my freshman year as an elective. I was so intrigued by the class that I decided to minor in gerontology. I quickly became very passionate about the study of aging and the minor became a second major, and by my senior year I was taking graduate level gerontology classes for fun. Law school was always in the back of mind growing up, as my dad, aunt and uncle are all attorneys in Ohio. My original plan was to go to law school to advocate for individuals with food allergies. However, after my gerontological studies, I knew I needed to follow my passion, so I went to law school to become an elder law attorney. During law school I participated in the Elder Law Clinic as a student attorney. While in the clinic, I represented low-income elderly individuals with a variety of legal issues. I worked as an associate attorney doing primarily estate planning and elder law in Red Wing for three years prior to joining Ward & Oehler, Ltd. in December of 2018.
Q: What else would you like us to know?
Know the facts. When it comes to estate planning and end of life planning, no two plans are the same. Every estate plan is unique and purposely drafted for each individual or family’s situation. Just because your neighbor deeded their homestead to their children or your hairdresser has a trust doesn’t mean you should do the same or that your estate plan is inadequate. This is especially important when it comes to medical assistance planning and the potential need for nursing home care. Everyone’s financial situation is different and medical assistance laws not only vary by state, but they change often. What a friend may have done years ago to protect their assets may not be a viable option today or right for your situation. Medical assistance may not be something you need until later in life but there are ways to protect your assets if you start planning early and know the facts.