Founded in 2009 by attorney Geoff Hoatson, the Family First Firm has served hundreds of Central Florida families with their legal needs through all stages of life.
We are a boutique law firm dedicated to helping our clients protect themselves, their families, and their legacy through wills and trusts, advanced directives, Medicaid qualification, Veteran’s benefits, and probate. We pride ourselves on our non-traditional approach which focuses on our clients’ experience – you’ll never feel like “just another client” here. As our client, you will not be an interruption of our work, you become the purpose of our work. Whether rejoicing in the birth of a child, planning for your golden years or celebrating the life of a loved one, we’re by your side. At the Family First Firm, it’s our privilege to protect you, your family, and your future.
My name is Geoff Hoatson and I grew up as the child of a physician here in Central Florida. My mother is an anesthesiologist and from a very early age I can always remember her worrying that we would be sued. She worried that she might get sued if she messed up at work. Early in her career, she had a colleague who had been named in a lawsuit and lost everything. My mother worried that our family would get sued if someone was slightly injured as the result of a minor car accident or fall on our property. She just “knew” that once the injured person found out she was a physician, they were coming after us. My sister and I grew up in fear that we might do something to put the family at risk. It was a feeling that stuck with me through college at the University of Central Florida and lead me to law school.
And the year before I went to law school, it finally happened. I was sitting at a red light. The light turned green and I took my foot off the brake before the person in front of me did and my car gently tapped the back of their car. Doing the right thing, I followed the driver into a parking lot. We got out and looked at the cars – there was no damage to either of our vehicles. The driver suggested that we just exchange information and not involve the police. I naively agreed. It wasn’t three weeks later when we received the demand letter for $88,000 from her attorney. The case ultimately settled for $5,000, but it was a lesson I learned the hard way – we live in an increasingly litigious society. I was determined to protect others from the abuses of the legal system.
This experience guided my choice to attend law school at Emory University, not because it was ranked in the top twenty law schools in the nation, but because of its reputation and faculty when it came to estate planning, of which asset protection is a subset. When it came to protecting families and their legacies, I wanted the best education that I could find. I focused intensively on estate planning and related specialties before graduating and returning to Florida to begin helping the families here. I’ve been blessed to do estate and protection planning for numerous people in high-risk fields, such as physicians, real estate developers, real estate investors, dentists, and lawyers. However, even people who many not have a high-risk occupation may still run into potential liability by driving on the increasingly infuriating – and dangerous – Central Florida roadways.
Upon returning to Orlando, I worked with a law firm for a year before realizing that I wasn’t realizing the purpose for which I had been called. I left with no clients and no strategy and started the Family First Firm 2009 so that I could focus on helping families in the way that I wanted. Along the way, I have developed a successful and thriving family law practice, but estate planning and asset protection has always been my first love.
I’ve helped countless families achieve their goals through their planning and gain peace of mind by protecting the legacy they’ve built. I’d be honored to help you and yours.
Carole is a Summa Cum Laude graduate of Seminole State College Legal Studies program. Prior to joining Family First Firm, she spent over three years at an Estate Planning and Elder Law Firm in Lake Mary, Florida. She spent nearly ten years with Southwest Airlines. During her tenure at Southwest she received one of the company’s highest honors after planning a Thanksgiving meal for several hundred service members. Carole was a cast member on the reality TV show Airline during the 2004-2005 season. She is married to a Marine and the mother of five children. During her spare time you may find her at many of the local comedy open mic shows.
Kate is originally from New York, where she attended Columbia University in New York City and worked in outdoor advertising. She now resides in Central Florida with her husband, three kids, and beloved Weimaraner, Cooper. Kate is also an avid photographer, frequently taking pictures of her family and friends on the weekends. She loves to travel, dance, and eat good food!
Marian is originally from Winter Park, Florida and a graduate of Circle Christian School. She drives a 1972 antique Ford pickup, that you can hear from a mile away. For over five years she volunteered at Freedom Ride, a non-profit organization on Lee Road that helps the disabled through Hippotherapy on horseback. Marian is also a competitive Irish Dancer and is placed top 10 in the Region. She is currently studying to become a dance instructor.
Michelle is originally from Boston, Massachusetts but moved to Central Florida in 1992, where she has resided since. She has a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Central Florida where she majored in Interdisciplinary Studies concentrating on Health Services Administration and Social Sciences. Michelle is always helping someone! In particular, she loves helping the elderly community. She provides families with professional guidance and heartfelt support. Michelle is passionate about serving others and has dedicated her career to doing just that. In her free time, she enjoys spending quality time with her hubby, her beautiful daughter and her chocolate lab and golden retriever, Buddy and Rusty.
Sarah is a graduate of Seminole State College with her Associate of Arts degree and is currently attending Rollins College to obtain her Bachelor’s in Psychology. She wishes to pursue a career in Mental Health Counseling. Sarah is a first generation Colombian and travels back to Colombia every year to visit family. She loves to travel and has visited countries such as Norway and Iceland; Iceland being her favorite country and a place where she left her heart.