The term “estate planning” is used today in many different aspects. Attorneys, financial institutions, accountants and insurance companies all promote themselves as providing estate planning. But what does it really mean?
Many of these professionals incorrectly believe that estate planning means avoiding probate and eliminating taxes on death. While both of these goals may be important, they are but a small part of estate planning. Everyone has different estate planning goals, that may or may not involve avoiding probate and taxes.
A good definition of estate planning we like to use is being able to control your assets while you are alive and well, making sure you and your loved ones are cared for if you become disabled, and then being able to give what you have to whom you want, the way you want, when you want, and, if possible save as much taxes, attorney fees and court costs possible.
A proper estate plan should meet this definition. In order to meet this definition, we often use various tools in order to achieve your goals. The following is a partial list of estate planning tools we often use to help our clients:
- Living Trusts
- Irrevocable Trusts
- Asset Protection Trusts
- Durable Powers of Attorney
- Springing Powers of Attorney
- Durable Powers of Attorney for Health Care
- Living Wills
- Transfer on Death Agreements
- Charitable Trusts
- Family Limited Partnership and Family Limited Liability Companies
- Nevada and Wyoming Limited Liability Companies
- Life Insurance Trusts
- Buy Sell Agreements
Maintenance of Your Estate Plan
A successful estate plan attains the goals you articulate. However, all of the above estate planning documents are useless tools unless accompanied by professional advice and counseling.
In addition, even the best drafted estate-planning documents become stagnant and fail to address inevitable changes to your family and financial circumstances, nor stay current on estate, trust and tax laws. Nearly all estate plans fail to pass on values and ideals to the heirs.
In choosing us as your attorneys, you are creating a relationship that we envision will last for lifetime; you are choosing counselors who will craft a plan that your family must live with after you are gone; you are choosing an advisor upon whom your loved ones will depend at their most difficult times; and your are creating a plan that not only leaves your assets to your heirs, but leaves a part of you to them as well.
Our method of estate planning is called Lifeprint™
The Lifeprint™ process creates estate plans based on customized advice, not form documents. It provides a structured maintenance program to keep your planning effective over your lifetime. Lifeprint™ also provides ongoing support and education to your loved ones after you are gone. And it is designed to reduce your legal costs, taxes and expenses to achieve your estate planning goals, not increase them.
We’re confident that the Lifeprint™ method of planning is superior in every respect. Our belief is validated each time we’re engaged by feuding family members whose then-deceased parents engaged in typical one-size-fits-all planning.