What is the solution? In estate planning, it is easy for things to go poorly if the estate planning is not done well. In our unique process, The Customized Protective Estate Planning Solution™, we have a regular process that we go through which gives us a much better chance of doing a good estate plan for the client that will help protect them and their loved ones and their legacy.
In the first step, we gather and review information from their existing estate plan and gather information regarding their family and how assets are owned so that I am well prepared for the first meeting. I also have a good idea of what their goals and concerns are. In our first meeting, we work together to identify what the strengths and weaknesses of their loved ones are and what are their assets and how they are owned. We work to find their goals and concerns.
From my more than 30 plus years of legal expertise plus my own life experiences, I help the client understand how the estate planning works, how we can protect and provide for them, and the clients can teach me about their family’s strengths and weaknesses. You just keep asking questions. If you don’t know the client’s loved one’s strengths and weaknesses or the client’s concerns or goals, you cannot do good estate planning in my opinion.
After we have a good understanding of the clients’ goals, the strengths and weaknesses of their loved ones, and their a ssets, we can begin designing a Customized Protective Estate Plan™. We can plan for Mental Disability and plan for what happens after the first one passes, and then what to do if there is a remarriage of the surviving spouse, and how to protect their loved ones in the event of a lawsuit or divorce.
There may be special needs planning for challenged or handicapped individuals, or there may be drug, alcohol or gambling addictions in the family. There may be a concern that the adult children are going to squander the inheritance. We may want to protect and provide for education for grandchildren or other generations.
We plan to avoid taxes and probate cost. Probate costs can be very expensive as we have discussed, and also if we hit estate taxes, they can be very expensive. When we meet to review and sign the estate plan, we go through it page by page to make sure the client knows and understands the plan. What I hear from others is, the lawyer just says, “Here’s your plan. Sign here, here and here,” and the client never goes through the plan so they don’t know if it actually does what they think it does.
We work with the client’s trusted advisers who may be their financial advisers, their accountants, and their insurance professionals so that we make sure that the plan will work from a financial standpoint, an insurance standpoint and tax efficiency standpoint. When the plan is in effect after it has been reviewed and signed, assets have to be retitled into the trust so that the protection and control of the trust is in place.
That can include retitling the land, retitling the investment and bank accounts and other assets that have a title. They all go into the name of the Trust.
We have a formal update program that is The Life Plan System™ where we work to keep the plans up-to-date with the law, and we have our classes for the client’s loved ones that we have discussed, the Nuts and Bolts™ Workshops. We do these at the holidays. We also do family meetings and other work that we do to keep the estate plan current.
NOTE: This is an excerpt from the book, The Legacy You Leave, by Steven Andrew Jackson, Esq. You can buy the book on Amazon or Kindle. Click here for details.
At the Law Firm of Steven Andrew Jackson, Attorney and Counsellor at Law, we have helped hundreds of families protect themselves and their loved ones, avoid Estate Taxes and Probate Costs, and keep their Estate Plans current with the law through The Customized Protective Estate Planning Solution™.