It’s Not About Documents—It’s About Results!
The key to proper estate planning is clear, comprehensive, customized instructions for your own care and the care of your loved ones. These instructions can be included in a will, trust, and in several other related documents. We find that most of our clients are best served with a combination of these tools, backed up by our Three Step Strategy™.
Step One: Develop Your Plan with Counseling-Oriented Planning Partners (as opposed to a word-processing, document-oriented attorney).
We fear that much of what passes for estate planning in this country is little more than word processing! We don’t think you should be paying a licensed professional just to do word processing. A professional’s value is in their counsel and advice, based on knowledge, wisdom, and experience, and if word processing is all you’re looking for, then you might as well do it yourself! But if you want an estate plan that works, you will want to seek good counseling from an attorney who is willing to work closely with other professionals, such as your financial advisor, accountant, and insurance agent.
We’ll start the process by getting to know you and gaining a comprehensive understanding of your goals and concerns. We’ll assess your current situation and work to educate you as we create a customized plan for accomplishing your goals and alleviating your concerns. Your plan will be structured in a way that ensures your heirs will inherit your wealth and wisdom, in an effective and orderly fashion that protects your wealth from creditors and predators.
Step Two: Commit Yourself and Your Family to a Continuing Maintenance and Education Program.
An estate plan faces a myriad of changes. First, your personal, family, and financial situations are constantly changing. Second, there is constant change in both tax law and non-tax law that impacts your estate plan. Third, your attorney’s experience and expertise will continue to grow and incorporate new ideas. Your professional advisors are continually improving their abilities through ongoing education and collected experience. They are regularly developing new tools, techniques and counseling resources.
Since these factors constantly evolve, you cannot expect a plan to accomplish what it was intended to do if it never gets updated. The costs of failing to update are typically far greater than the costs of keeping your plan current.
As part of our affordable Maintenance & Education program, we’ll continue to review and revise your plan to keep it aligned with your goals as they grow and change over time. We’ll perform annual reviews and regular updates to make sure we keep abreast of any new developments in your life and the law, and we will work with you to adjust your plan accordingly.
Click here to learn more about our Maintenance & Education program.
Step Three: Secure Appropriate Assistance Down the Line for You and Your Family to Transfer Your Wisdom and Financial Wealth.
It’s one thing to pass your material wealth to the next generation. It’s a different thing to pass it along in a comprehensive, orderly, and protected manner. And it’s yet another thing to pass along your wisdom. A good estate plan will accomplish all three things.
By working with a team of professionals, your heirs will be able to receive their inheritance protected from creditors and predators. Additionally, you can structure your estate plan to provide in-depth instructions or commentary on those things that you believe are important for your heirs to know and do.
But when death occurs and it’s time for an estate plan to start delivering its intended results, the need for assistance hasn’t ended. Administration of a will or trust is a highly technical matter that requires professional help. The slightest mistake can cause unnecessary taxes or in-family lawsuits! Protections built into your plan during its design may be undermined if the plan isn’t administered correctly. With appropriate assistance, however, settling the estate with a prepared family member will prove efficient and harmonious.
Through the Three Step Strategy™ and continuous improvement of your plan, our firm can agree in advance and in writing to reduce the attorneys’ fees for the cost of administration, typically by as much as 30-50% or more, if your family continues to work with us. As a result, the overall cost of your plan will be substantially less than traditional planning.
Finally, even after the estate is formally “settled”, your plan may continue to live on! If your goals include asset protection or long-range tax avoidance, your heirs will continue developing, enhancing, and living out that plan for decades and generations to come.
A proper estate plan will meet your goals and will keep you in control of the process and the results. Meaningful results come from a systematic process. Don’t sell yourself short of getting a plan that WORKS!
If you’re ready to get started, call Aimee, our Client Services Director, at (919) 443-3035!
The Three-Step Strategy for complete estate planning will allow for a lifetime of peace of mind
It’s Not About Documents—It’s About Results!