CREATING SUCCESSFUL ESTATE PLANS
As always, your family is counting on you. Having a current and comprehensive estate plan is one is one of the most loving things you can do for them. During the most difficult of times it will help them make the right decisions at the right time and provide clear answers when they need it most. Successful estate plans are created, in part, by adhering to certain principles, such as:
I. Recognizing that estate planning is not a transaction where the client simply exchanges a check for a stack of documents, but rather a relationship between the attorney and the client where goal oriented family planning is the focus.
II. Providing the client with the education, information and personalized counseling needed to achieve their goals, which often include:
1. Protecting assets
a) Catastrophic Illness Protection
b) Inheritance Control
c) Remarriage Protection
d) Divorce Protection
e) Creditor Protection
f) Values Promotion
2. Preparing Heirs,
3. Addressing Disability provisions,
4. Addressing Special Needs provisions,
5. Addressing Legacy planning,
6. Arranging Family education and preparatory meetings,
7. Maintaining the cohesiveness of the family,
8. Avoiding family disputes related to inheritance and end of life issues, and
9. Avoiding probate, saving taxes, and controlling professional fees
III. Making sure the clients beneficiary designations are properly listed and assets are properly titled so that they are consistent with the goals of the estate plan. It makes no sense to leave the vacation home to Johnny if it is held jointly with Mary.
IV. Having a formal review and continuing update, maintenance and education process in place to insure that the plan is kept current, reflecting changes in the client’s life and the law.
V. Educating the client’s beneficiaries, agents and successor trustees about what their roles and responsibilities will be when the time comes.
VI. Providing the client’s beneficiaries, agents and successor trustees with detailed instructions and assistance through a support network they will need when the time comes.
VII. Collaborating with the client’s other trusted advisers such as their financial planners, Insurance agents, CPAs, etc.