All too often, estate planning is viewed as a transaction: a
will, a living trust, powers of attorney, etc. But the best planning happens
when the professional can get to know the client on a deeper level, to uncover
hopes, dreams and aspirations. It becomes more about family and values, and it
becomes a process instead of a transaction.
This process begins with having a plan for our lives. There
is a certain power in planning. When plans are carefully thought through and
written out, they tend to come true. A plan can also serve as a guide, helping
to align our deepest values, beliefs and goals with our financial resources so
we can realize our dreams. Having a plan allows us to live richer, fuller
lives—personally, professionally, financially and spiritually.
How to Formulate A
1. Think broadly and deeply about what matters most to you.
If you had all the money you needed, what would you do with it? If you had only
five or ten years to live, how would you live them? If you learned you have 24
hours left to live, what did you miss?
2. Take this vision, sweep away any doubts, and craft your
ideal life in as much detail as possible. This can energize you to achieve your
vision in the shortest time possible. Goals are no longer something to be hoped
for “some day,” but can become immediate and vibrant.
3. A thoughtful professional can help you identify obstacles
and roadblocks that may be keeping you from achieving your vision. These are
sometimes financial, but more often they are internal beliefs.
4. An experienced professional can then recommend the best
ways to achieve your goals. Quite often, this professional will put together a
team of professionals from different disciplines to make sure all of the needs
are being met. The team may include an estate planning attorney, a financial
advisor, an insurance advisor, a CPA, a retirement plan advisor, even a planned
The right professional for this approach in planning will
ask open-ended questions and listen carefully to the answers. The client, on
the other hand, will need to be open, honest and willing to make an emotional
connection, with both the professional and with him/herself. The two will be
building a mutual trust and relationship, one that can last for many years,
possibly even into the next generation.
The result of this type of planning is far more rewarding
than any transaction.
If you require counsel, contact one of our Menlo Park Estate Planning Attorneys today.