Estate Planning: What You Need to Know, Part 1
The key to estate planning is finding a balance between control and protection. This is the first blog post in a five-part series that will help you get you closer to understanding where that balance is for you.
- One maxim of estate planning is finding a balance between control and protection
- Finding the right balance between the two is a constantly evolving process
What exactly is estate planning? If you read our previous blog post, Did You Know You Already Have an Estate Plan?, then you know that an estate plan is a set of documents that will ensure your wishes regarding your health and assets are carried out accordingly, before and after your death. But what does this really mean in practice? How does a trust and estates attorney make this happen?
In short, it depends. I know, that's not really an answer. But, while this question is reasonable, there is really no one-size-fits-all answer. However, there are two keys that you should keep in mind regardless of how your wishes regarding your health and assets are carried out. They are control and protection.
In estate planning, control and protection are everything. But any attorney worth their salt will tell you the key is finding a particular balance between control and protection for each individual client. That means great estate plans are highly personalized to reflect the right amount of protection (from various people and organizations), and the right amount of control (or the ability to do what you want, when you want with the assets that make up your trust).
So how do we find this balance? First, we need to understand that it is a moving target. For instance, a revocable living trust centered plan with various sub-trusts, like a QTIP trust and an IRA trust, may be great as the core of one client's estate plan, but it may be entirely inefficient to effectuate the goals of that same client ten years down the road. If we can understand that finding a balance between control and protection is a constantly evolving process, and look at an estate planning as a living, breathing set of documents, then we're on track to finding that balance.
But, the question remains: How does a trust and estates attorney make this happen? In order to answer that question, we'll be releasing a five part series covering what you really need to know when it comes to estate planning. The goal is to provide you with enough information so if and when you decide to take action and get planning, you'll have an understanding of what's what. Our next blog post in the series will be Part 2 of this series and will cover the basics of incapacity planning. If you're all set to take the leap before reading on, schedule a strategy session and we'll start finding that balance between control and protection for you.
Matthew Schlau is a co-founding principal of Schlau|Rogers and an estate and business planning lawyer practicing in Orange, San Diego, Los Angeles and Riverside counties. He is a husband, father, blogger, crossfitter, and really good at helping people achieve their goals.
At Schlau|Rogers, we do more than just estate and business planning, probate and trust administration. Our objective is to provide individually-tailored plans that allow you the opportunity to reach your goals, all while minimizing headaches and risk, and maximizing peace of mind.
On our blog, you'll find useful information about estate and business planning, probate and trust administration, as well as some tidbits on personal finance, taxes, and anything else we think will help minimize headaches, worry and risk, all while maximizing peace of mind.
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