The legal team at Connolly Tacon & Merserve believes in living life to the fullest. While each lawyer regularly volunteers with their own favorite charity, as a team they work toward a common annual goal—raising money and awareness for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.

For partner Jonathan Sprouffske, the cause especially hits home. It also drives his practice—estate planning and probate service. Born to a father who was diagnosed with a heart and lung defect, he grew up in a world where estate planning was necessary.

estate planning lawyer
Jonathan Sprouffske is a partner at Connolly Tacon & Meserve with a focus on estate planning. Photo courtesy: Jonathan Sprouffske.

“Talking about death was as normal as saying ‘pass the peas’ at the dinner table,” he explains.

Jonathan’s father passed when he was a freshman in high school. Shortly thereafter, life threw another wrench – his mom was diagnosed with cancer. After remission, she ended up passing during Jonathan’s senior year in college, but not before he was accepted into law school.

“My mom helped drive my decision to go to law school, and it also really drove my passion to focus on estate planning and probate issues. I work with families who are making end-of-life decisions and need guidance to transition through that process,” he says.

Another layer in Jonathan’s life work, and motivation for the team at Connolly Tacon & Meserve, was the passing of Jim Connolly, one of the partners of the firm—the one who offered Jonathan his job—who was diagnosed with cancer in 2009 and lost the battle in 2010.

estate planning lawyer
Since 2008, members of Connolly Tacon & Meserve have joined together at the Relay For Life of Thurston County to celebrate cancer survivors, remember those lost, and fight back against cancer. Photo courtesy: Connolly Tacon & Meserve.

“It’s important to all of us to show support for Relay for Life’s cancer awareness and research projects,” shares Jonathan. Last year the group’s relay team was top in the state and number 24 out of more than 150,000 teams nationwide. They raised $105,807 in 2016 and more than $550,000 since 2008.

His life experiences also motivate him to speak to cancer patients, survivors, and their families. He regularly presents to groups, such as at the Providence Regional Cancer System’s annual Cancer Survivor Celebrations.

“He is always one of the most popular speakers and given the topic, Conversations with Family Members: Estate Planning and Health Care Directives, that is quite a tribute,” says Dr. Cobie S. Whitten, Psycho-Oncology Consultant. “His expertise, warmth, compassion, humor, authenticity, and understanding of unique challenges for cancer patients and their loved ones make him an extraordinary asset to our community.”

“Something that’s always been fascinating to me is how families approach estate planning,” shares Jonathan. “I help family members talk about what would happen at the end of life and how to plan for the future. I give them the tools and the terminology so they can have an educated conversation about the process.”

estate planning lawyer
Jonathan grew up on his family’s farm in Rainier. He is very active with the Saint Martin’s Alumni Association, and speaks regularly at cancer support groups as part of his dedication to community service. Photo courtesy: Jonathan Sprouffske.

Jonathan reminds his clients and the community, “If you don’t have plans, Washington State does, and it may not meet your needs.”

While major life events, such as marriage, divorce or death, usually spark the conversation, Jonathan encourages you to start talking now. He invites people to bring their parents and other loved ones in for a free estate planning consultation where together you can review assets, family structure, long-range goals, and focus on providing for your spouse, children, and charities.

“We come up with your priorities and then look at what documents are needed to meet those goals,” he says.

There is no obligation to go through with paperwork and the free consultations will leave clients well-informed.

“Every member of our law firm is invested in the community,” says Jonathan. “We want to set an example for people–find something you’re interested in and follow your passion to give back.”

To schedule an appointment with Jonathan Sprouffske, contact Connolly Tacon & Meserve at 360-943-6747.


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