Is your estate planner a trusted advisor or a guerilla problem solver? Does he see you as a person or merely a bank account?
All too often lawyers or others billing themselves as “estate planners” perceive that you want the lowest cost, lowest maintenance product available so you can feel comforted that you have an estate plan.
This attitude has developed over time because many people believe an estate plan is a simple document to prevent the government from taking money that rightfully belongs to their children, when actually—if done correctly—it can be a comprehensive tool for passing on values and leaving a legacy for future generations.
I believe this is what estate planning has always been, but recently the advent of word processing and the internet has made it too easy for non-lawyers to peddle slick material by the ream, instead of providing you with personal attention and actual content and value. The internet is great for disseminating information on a wide variety of topics, but it is also the domain of predators who will sell you a boiler plate documents without any input from you other than your names. These documents may not even adhere to Arizona laws, and they come with voluminous instructions on what to do to make your plan effective.
If you have specialized legal training that qualifies you to understand what you are buying, how to make it work, and how to fix it if it doesn’t work, then the “estate plan in a box” may be for you; but if you have worked a lifetime gaining knowledge and experience in a different chosen field then you can appreciate the importance of using professionals to help you through what could be, if not the most important, certainly the longest lasting decision you will ever make.
Thus my leading question: Does your estate planner really know you?
In my practice I begin with a list of 20 important concerns and ask you to prioritize them so that your estate plan reflects your personal intentions.
I continue with 18 specific questions about your family to help me become familiar with your unique situation.
And if the situation calls for it, I follow up with a detailed fact finder that allows you to describe your values and explain how you developed the attitudes and values you have and how to pass these along to your descendants.
I use the information I have gathered to weave a rich tapestry of an estate plan, with a trust that will be a tax efficient and purposeful. My staff will work with you to re-title assets and confirm that all your assets are integrated into your plan so that the administration of your estate proceeds in an orderly and compassionate fashion.
I have more than 30 years experience as a lawyer and am well versed on estate tax planning, treatment of IRAs and other qualified retirement plans, and I study emerging strategies that may or may not use life insurance depending on your needs. I can help sharpen your focus on how best to employ your resources to accomplish your hopes, dreams, and aspirations.
If you believe you are more than the money you have, we should meet.
Contact me today (or leave a comment with your e-mail address) and I will send you, without any further obligation, my list of 20 concerns, my 18 family questions, and my “You’re More Than Money” questionnaire.