A comprehensive estate plan must include both lifetime and at-death planning elements. This is done to prepare for the possible incapacity and the inevitability of death. Estate planning is a process not an event. The estate plans I design leverage legal strategies to address my clients’ concerns and help them achieve their goals.
My clients are often interested in addressing a family issue like planning for their minor children. They also want to make things easy for their families and preserve a legacy to pass to their loved ones. My clients are interested in avoiding probate, protecting their assets and tend to be focused on death (naturally).
When recommending a plan design my focus often centers on addressing required legal technical requirements, avoiding or saving on taxes, making things easy for the family, and avoiding probate. However, I take an expanded view and include incapacity and death and split my analysis into lifetime planning and at-death planning objectives. Lifetime objectives including providing for client’s care during incapacity, minimizing family conflict, coordination with tax or other legal planning strategies, providing smooth-succession of key decision-makers, and avoiding conservatorship/guardianship. At-death planning objectives include avoiding probate, efficiently handling after-death asset administration, preserving family harmony, protecting beneficiaries for as long as possible or as long as necessary, and allowing children to grow into their inheritances.
This process is easier than you think. At my firm, I use the following 5-step process.
First, I will gather some information during our initial interview. Think of it as providing a medical history to your doctor. We will discuss your assets and family situation.
Second, I will examine your needs, your goals, family objectives, and perform a diagnosis. This diagnosis will be my recommendations for the design of your customized estate plan. We’ll review the plan and agree upon a signing date.
Third, I will draft the plan.
Fourth, we will review it together and make any necessary changes to ensure that it captures your wishes, and you will sign your documents.
Fifth, I’ll deliver your final documents and retain a copy for safekeeping.
When you are ready to start your estate plan, give me a call at (949) 334-7823.
I am ready to answer your estate planning questions and help you put your plan in place.
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