On November 27, 2013

Think of your Estate Planning like a puzzle. Some of us have 100 piece puzzles and others have the 5,000 piece puzzle. Many people come to our seminars and office focused on either tax savings or probate avoidance. Both can be important pieces of the Estate Planning puzzle but for a large majority of clients the human dimension is the driving factor.

How much easier is a puzzle once you have all the edge pieces in place? Getting a vision of what the final plan is going to look like helps you build it correctly. You know your family better than anyone. If your gut says this may become a problem later or this kid is going to be an issue, then trust your instincts and plan for it. I am still amazed at how many families have problems once the parent who held everything together passes. There are power struggles over the biggest and littlest things and the remaining parent, who still needs to grieve, gets stuck in the middle. Take the time and lighten the burden from your loved ones. Your attorney needs to be able to talk you through the thought process and play devil’s advocate with you to make sure you think about all the human issues your situation.

Unexpected events do happen. If any of us knew when our last day would be, or the exact time we may become mentally disabled, then we could just get everything into place the week before. Since we don’t, the best plan will have two parts: 1) Leave the earth in due time plan and 2) Leave the earth unexpectedly disaster plan. We would all love to live to a ripe old age and be sharp as a tack until our last breath. For some of us that may happen. For the rest of us we are somewhere in between that, and the worst happening tomorrow.

Start filling in the pieces of your Estate Planning puzzle only after you have all the edge pieces in place. Find an attorney that has experience with administering Wills, Trusts and Probate. They know what can go wrong and how to make it go right. Get the key pieces for your situation in place.  All our puzzles are different and your attorney should adjust accordingly. One size doesn’t fit all. At the very least talk to an attorney and find out what your puzzle frame looks like. It should only cost you a little time. From there you will have the costs and options for building your plan and you will be on your way to making life easier for your loved ones.

Categories: Estate Planning

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