NPR is currently running an interesting series on financial basics for Baby Boomers. An NPR article published today (Article Link) struck a chord with me because my office works to make the process of creating an estate plan as streamlined and friendly as possible. Of course, this can prove to be challenging at times, because many people do not realize that good estate planning is necessarily a collaborative process. That is, the Estates attorney must be able to determine the client's estate planning goals based upon information provided by the client. The attorney then uses this information to draft estate planning documents that best effectuate the client's objectives. However, many view the creation of an estate plan akin to having a CPA complete annual tax returns. In contrast, to create an estate plan the effectively meets your wishes your lawyer must understand more than your financial positions.
Generally, this process includes the client filling out an intake sheet and then meeting with the Estates lawyer. Afterwards, a draft of the estate planning documents are drafted, which the client reviews. Finally, a signing ceremeony is scheduled—where the client executes the documents.
While this process does involves the client providing the attorney with information, the back and forth is imperative to the ultimate plans success. While one can choose to create his or her own or purchase a pre-made "estate plan", doing so will not distribute your assets and protect loved ones pursuant to your wishes. To create an estate plan that actually meets your goals and desires after you are no longer around, it is imperative to consult with an attorney who takes the time to know your overall objectives, family situation, and estate planning goals. While the process of creating and executing such a plan can seem work intensive—it is much easier and less expensive than failing to make any plan.
Because you have no say how your assets are distributed and your legacy is protected after you are gone—it is worth the time and effort to create an estate plan to ensure that your wishes are met.
If you are interested in ensuring that your family is cared for after you have passed away, please call our office at 415-625-0773 to schedule your free estate planning consultation with San Francisco’s premiere estate planning attorney, Matthew J. Tuller.