About Todd Schmitz, Of Counsel
Birthplace: I was born in Mount Clemens. I grew up in Mount Clemens and I graduated from Mount Clemens High School. I'm one of Mount Clemens Battling Bathers. That's the name because the city used to be famous for mineral baths and people came here from all over the world. My parents still live in Mount Clemens. My dad was a teacher at Mount Clemens High School.
Residence: I currently live in Eastpointe.
Family: I'm married. My wife is Maryanne and we have three sons and a daughter.
Education: After Mount Clemens High School, I went to Michigan State University and for two years I majored in electrical engineering, then for one brief semester I majored in political science. I graduated with my bachelor's degree and a major in economics. I went to Wayne State University for my law degree and graduated in 1992.
Occupation: After working for the federal, state and then county levels of government, I decided to go out into private practice. After practicing for several years, I put my full-time practice on hold to serve again in county government.
What Kind of Law do you practice? Only estate planning, no slip-and-falls, no divorces. Our aim is to keep people out of court when there is a disability; to keep people out of court when there's a death and to reduce their tax liability. And, to protect people's estates from nursing home care. I had a family member with Alzheimer's and I was aware of what the family did and that interested me in estate planning.
We also do estate planning for those with special needs - cerebral palsy, Down's Syndrome, birth defects. A lot of people think the way to protect the child's government benefits is to disinherit them. But there are special needs trusts, so they get all their needs met without losing their benefits. People have to take the time to find out about their options.
We handle living trusts, Medicaid, and special needs and teach people about how they can help meet their needs.
What did you think you were going to be growing up? I thought I was going to be an engineer.
What was your first job? I worked the deep fry at Taco Bell, and to this day I still enjoy Taco Bell food.
What was your first car? It was a 1984 Chevy Impala. It was handed down from my parents.
TV Show? West Wing.
Movie? "Hero" with Dustin Hoffman would be my favorite movie. With little ones, I don't see many grown-up movies. We're a Disney family. My wife works at the Disney store.
Music? I like all kinds. I play cello with the Macomb Symphony, so I like pop and classical. It's a great orchestra and they present several offerings each season. Tom Cook, the conductor, does an outstanding job with that organization. I think it's important for our community's character to have a good arts and music program.
Magazines? Computer magazines, I enjoy the technology.
Books? Given that what I do all day is read legal papers, I don't read many books when I get home. If I had to pick a favorite author, it would be Mark Twain or Charles Dickens.
Food? I like Thai, and I enjoy a good steak, too.
Sports? I like all the Detroit teams, but I don't watch sports too often. I played softball in Eastpointe, which has a good recreation league. But I'm better at watching than playing.
Vacation Spot? Disney World.
What would you like to be doing in 10 years? Spending more time with my family, practicing a little law and volunteering for local community service, or in local politics.
If you were independently wealthy, what would you do with your time & your money? I would spend more time with my family, vacation a little more, but I pretty much have everything I need.