Most traditional estate plan legal documents are adequate, because they:
- Maximize tax savings (not big issue these days).
- May or may not provide maximum Medicaid or divorce protection for children or surviving spouse (can be built in).
- Financial assets invested responsibly (growth and risk factors vary for younger inheritors). Financial side 80%-100% prepared.
- Meet standard industry definition of estate planning (who, what, when, my way, lowest cost).
These issues much less likely to negatively impact transition than lack of heir preparedness.
Most Estate Plans Do Not Document Your Intentions
Assets should make a difference in your children’s lives to help them succeed.
- Assets should not cause harm or cause disagreement.
- Assets received with understanding that family values and love more important than money, and that you have faith and hope for them.
- Heirs understand how to use documents for their protection and well-being for the future.
- Heirs understand documents are an expression of your love for them.
- Heirs understand restrictions are a recognition of risks.
Most Estate Plans Do Not Document Your Intangible Assets
The life lessons you have learned have capital value to pass on, but they will be lost if not shared and documented.
It is important to think about:
- What and where is my intangible wealth from a personal standpoint?
- What do I really want to pass on to each heirs and family member?
- How do we accomplish estate planning in a manner that is healthy and fun?
Intangibles in Estate Plan Elevate Its Meaning
When you incorporate your family’s intangible assets into your estate plan documents, you give them greater long-term meaning. The documents will help your heirs to better understand the general concepts and the related specific details of your intentions, such as:
- Asset distribution schedule
- Work they have to do
- Purpose of estate structure
- Your hopes for them
If your intent is family harmony, most of your family probably also feels that is important. However, that is easier said than done, so "muscles of communication" are needed to maintain the peace within the family. Those muscles are built up and sustained through generations by a series of organized family activities, structures, and practices, which are scheduled and documented.
Take Steps To Plan Your Legacy
Evaluate your family’s odds of achieving a successful asset transition. Complete the 1O-question Estate Transition Checklist to determine how prepared you and your family are to achieve your asset transition goals.
Complete the Estate Transition Checklist
Our Personal Estate Planning Priorities Survey, in combination with the Estate Transition Checklist, will help determine your vision and goals for your estate plan and how it is administered by your heirs.
Complete the Survey: Estate Planning Priorities