Beyond the Plan

Posted on July 27, 2011

You have a lot of options when it comes to planning your estate.  You can consult an attorney, sure, but you can also do it yourself with the help of numerous services that are willing to sell pre-drafted forms.  The question is not whether you have multiple options, but why you would choose anything but the best plan for your needs.  The best plans include processes for customization and implementation.  That means giving you exactly what you specifically need.

Putting the Plan in Action

Developing an estate plan requires a minimum of five things:

  1. Understanding you and your family’s specific circumstances, needs, and assets.
  2. Understanding the law and how your desires can be achieved within the constraints of the legal system through estate planning tools.
  3. Forming an actual plan that meets your needs and keeps taxes low.
  4. Implementing the plan so that it complies with legal technicalities.
  5. Review and revision of the plan, as the law and your needs change.

What you can never get outside of developing a relationship with an estate planning professional that you trust is guidance on coming up with creative ways to effectively implement your plan, guidance on funding your estate plan, and a periodic review of your planning to make sure that it works when it’s most needed.  Those things alone should provide you with substantial peace of mind, and isn’t that what estate planning is all about at the end of the day?

Estate plans can be complicated.  In addition to figuring out all the difficult-to-comprehend forms and legalese, the “do it yourself” approach leaves you alone to deal with the crucial issue of funding your plan.  Trusts (yes, even revocable living trusts) must be funded!  That means certain assets must be re-titled, and depending on how your bank, investment, and retirement accounts are arranged, you might have to do some work there too.  It can be complex, and if you haven’t “been there before,” then some things will almost certainly fall through the cracks.  I see it happen all the time, and I’m often called upon to fix improperly conceived and implemented estate plans, which can be more expensive than just doing it right from the start.

Follow-Up

Unless you’re an attorney, you probably don’t get a lot of enjoyment out of following legal precedents and changes to statutes. As a professional, it’s my job to be on top of things, no matter how quickly they change.  Plus, I enjoy it, because nothing is more rewarding than serving my clients so well that the value I provide is obvious.

Fortunately, I’m in your corner when it comes to maintaining the legality and effectiveness of estate plans, because I provide comprehensive reviews and updates to the estate plans of my existing clients.  That allows my clients to focus on what matters most to them, whether that’s spending time with family, business, or travel.  You’ll pay me much less to stay on top of your estate planning issues than the time of doing it yourself is worth to you.  Think about that last sentence.  Let me do what I do best (and what I love to do), and you do what you do best (and what you love to do).  There’s no reason to drive yourself crazy wondering if something critical has been left out.

July has been super busy, and August looks to be hectic too.  However, I’m always thinking about new clients, and I’m always available to serve those who have questions and need my help.  As a result, I’m making room for a few people who really want to plan and make provisions for the care of their family.  Call me today to schedule your Family Wealth Planning Session.  A Family Wealth Planning Sessions usually cost $750, but two lucky people are getting a session for free!  The first two people who call and mention this blog post will get a comprehensive planning session at no charge!  Don’t wait, because this offer won’t last long.

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