Many people go to great lengths to accumulate wealth. Those that begin early in life are usually among the brightest in their age group. Regardless of age, individuals that seek to be self-sufficient are to be admired. Unfortunately, many work hard and pay great sums in fees and commissions yet they have incomplete financial plans. Sadly, they are tipically unaware of a gaping hole in their strategy. When a catastrophe occurs the individual or the individual’s family discovers the huge omission that has been made.

No financial plan is complete without proper estate planning documents. For example a smart young couple that has worked tirelessly to accumulate wealth is suddenly taken in an auto accident. If they don’t have a will, both guardianship of their children and control of their wealth will be in the hands of the court. 

If the retired person that has accumulated wealth for years dies without a complete estate plan their wealth may be diminished by taxes and fees, or squandered by beneficiaries that will waste a lifetime of wealth in a year or two.

 A scenario that is even worse than the loss of wealth may occur when an individual becomes incompetent without having the proper powers of attorney. In our state a hearing would be required when the person is unable to make rational decisions. If the court agrees that the person is incompetent, the next of kin would usually be appointed to be their guardian. However, as guardian the individual must ask permission from the court before making any changes for the incompetent loved one. The guardian is also required to file an annual report to the court detailing all funds that was spent on the individual for the previous year. Guardianship can be a costly endeavor, but more importantly it can be time consuming and humiliating for the loved one acting as guardian. Imagine being married to a person for over 50 years and having to petition the court before you can spend money on them? That has to be so humiliating!

That’s why we believe a major part of a great financial plan is having a great estate plan. We make sure our clients are educated about the need for planning. We are associated with good attorneys that offer estate document preparation at fair rates. We go beyond the planning done by most firms to include our non-legal estate planning services.

There are many aspects to a great estate plan. The plan should begin with an examination of goals. It should include proper documents written by an attorney. However, it is also very important that the plan include an assessment of beneficiaries, especially those on retirement accounts. What seems to be a minor era can become a mistake that cost multiplied thousands of dollars if it isn’t handled properly.

A 2009 Lawyers.com study of the estate planning efforts of adults found that 49% of the adult population didn’t have a written will. The same survey concluded that 72% did not have proper powers of attorney. We are committed to making sure our clients aren’t vulnerable to the risk associated with that kind of insufficient planning.

Planning Your Estate