Many people believe that estate planning is only for people who are particularly wealthy, have elaborate schemes in mind for passing their money to their heirs, or for people who are acutely ill and contemplating their death. This could not be farther from the truth!
Estate planning is for every husband, wife, mother, father, grandparent, business owner, professional, or anyone else who has someone they care about, are concerned about providing responsibly for their own well being and for the well being of those they love, and for anyone who seeks to make a difference in the lives of others after they're gone. Estate planning is not 'death planning'; it's 'life planning', and an essential and rewarding process for individuals and families who engage in it.
When done properly, estate planning requires that a highly trained individual lead you through one or more in-depth meetings to uncover your hopes, fears, and expectations for yourself and for those who are most important to you. This process almost always requires the preparation of several sophisticated legal documents, but those documents themselves are not 'estate planning.' Planning is a process, represented by a complete strategy that is properly documented and maintained by a professional who has taken the time to get to know you, and who is committed to continuing to serve you.
“First, have a definite, clear practical ideal; a goal, an objective. Second, have the necessary means to achieve your ends;
wisdom, money, materials, and methods. Third, adjust all your means to that end.” --Aristotle
In this context, we believe that starting with the end in mind helps you to focus on what is important to you. Some of these goals may be financial, such as avoiding taxes or probate, while some of these goals are likely to involve the hopes and dreams you have for your loved ones. Whether it is the security of your spouse in the event you are the first to pass or the hope for your children that they may thrive, the end vision is one that relates to people and the love you have for them. We want to ensure that your plan appropriately accommodates each of these goals.
We believe that the relationship between the client and attorney is a partnership where we work together to discover your goals and create a plan that most likely ensures the results you desire. You are providing the vision for the plan. Our role is to help you identify roadblocks to a successful plan and implement the strategies most apt to avoid them. Together, we are crafting your plan that meets your objectives.
If you knew you were about to die, fully possessed of your faculties, in a very peaceful, painless way, and you had one opportunity, say 15 minutes, to speak to your child, what would you want to say to them? What would you want them to know?