What Do You Want in Your Plan?
What Do You Want in Your Plan?
Estate Planning Goals
By Mark T. Coulter, Esquire
Estate Planning Attorney
Estate Planning is not a ‘one size fits all’ tool. Instead, it involves collaborating with a knowledgeable professional to identify what your personal goals are for your estate and your family, and finding the best versions of the available legal tools to craft an estate plan which is best calculated to attain those goals. Necessarily, the first question then must be, what is it that your want in your plan? Stated otherwise, what are your planning goals?
The set of goals a client brings to the estate planning process are as different as the clothes we wear, but there are some dominant themes which have emerged over the years. Before you meet with us, it might help for you to consider and discuss which of these, or which others, have a bearing on how you would like to see your plan crafted:
- I want to avoid probate of my estate
- I want to minimize or eliminate taxes related to my death and estate
- I want to minimize the chaos in my family’s financial affairs when I die
- I want to name a guardian for my minor children if both parents are gone
- I want to protect my assets from being attacked during my life
- I want to protect assets I leave to my family from being wasted or taken from them
- I want to be prepared to handle long term care and nursing home expenses
- I want to have a method to manage my affairs if I’m injured, or in a coma, and can’t do it myself
- I want to reduce the expense and delay of handling my assets upon my death
- I need to protect a family member with special physical, mental or emotional needs
- My family has a medical emergency and we need a plan right now
- I want to plan responsibly now, at the lowest reasonable cost
- I don’t want to outlive my retirement assets
- I want to prepare how to manage assets which might go to a minor child
- I want to protect the privacy of my estate assets and dispositive plan
- I want to avoid taxes in growing and appreciating assets
- I want to address health care choices to make if I’m in a terrible condition
- I want to treat my beneficiaries equally, or fairly, or otherwise.
- I want to benefit charity
- I want my family to learn how to benefit charity
- I want to make sure my children from a prior marriage are protected
- I need to prepare for what happens to the business I own if I die
- I want to make my estate benefit multiple future generations
- I want to maximize the value or use of my life insurance
- I want to disinherit someone
- I want to identify who handles family finances when I die
- I want to control what my beneficiaries can or can’t do with assets from me
- I want to make sure no one tries to contest or alter my plan
- I want to share my assets with my family while I am still alive
These are just some common examples. What are your goals? Crafting a customized financial plan requires a balancing of personal and financial goals, which sometime compete within themselves. These goals, when prioritized, must then be placed into a framework of estate planning tools appropriately selected and tailored to maximize the reach towards your goals. We are happy to assist you in this process, including helping you to determine what you want in your own plan, what your goals are.
Please contact us when you are ready to move forwards and put turn your goals into an effective estate plan, or to answer questions you may have.
About Our Law Office
At the Estate Planning Centers at Coulter & May, P.C., we devote our practice to estate planning and assisting families through such transition times with estate and trust administration counseling. We offer guidance and advice to our clients in every area of estate planning, and offer comprehensive and personalized estate planning consultations. For more information or to attend an upcoming seminar or to book a consultation directly, please contact us at (412) 253-7526 or visit us online at www.estateplanningcenters.com.
Disclaimer: The information presented in this article is a conversational summary of a complex area of law and should not be construed to constitute legal advice. No person should rely upon the content of this article for making any decisions, and should instead consult with appropriate legal and tax professionals.