In my opinion, quite often clients view our advice and recommendations as just something we learned in books and research papers. While some of that is true, the largest portion of our recommendations are based on “in the trench” experience. My family and I are also human and many of the issues you have encountered over your lifetime, are no different than those we encounter.
One area that we try to work very closely with our clients is that of estate planning. I am not an attorney so I can’t design your plan or documents. However, I can provide the logistics on how to better tie your objectives and assets to better transfer them to your spouse or heirs.
Here is some issues you want to make sure to avoid when designing an estate plan.
- KEEP IT SIMPLE. When designing your plan, you have to understand that not all your kids are the same and when money is involved there is often problems if these issues are not addressed. Understand your kids don’t want hard assets (cars, property, houses, paintings, dishes, jewelry). They want CASH. They don’t want to be bothered in their already busy life with stuff.
- DON’T GET FANCY. You must resist the temptation to get too complicated. While we might have issues with some kids with addictions or mental illness, there are some ways to work around this. Proper planning will allow you to properly care for them at your death. Complicated estate plans will only lead to a lot of wasted time, money, and effort to sort out once you are gone.
- YOU MUST TALK ABOUT IT. You must not hide your estate plan. While not a topic for daily conversation, it is something you must share with your heirs. Make sure everything is accounted for and everything is understood.
- BE EQUAL. Forget fairness. BE EQUAL. Fairness has a lot of definitions depending on what side of the equation you fall. Fairness and intentions are often misunderstood.
I hope this helps you all.