Estate planning is often a difficult topic to discuss because of what it suggests – end of life. Most people prefer not to think about this topic because it brings up a lot of emotions. Yet most people make decisions routinely that impact their estate, often without realizing it. Wise and compassionate family leaders, both patriarchs and matriarchs, choose a different path.
Most new clients who come to Whitnell realize that they need to address their estate plan, even if they already have one. People who make an estate plan during their lifetime are far more likely to determine the way their legacy and assets go to support the ones they love and the charities about which they are passionate. People who do not make an estate plan have no such assurances.
Estate planning gives rise to some of the most personal and intimate issues for which a person will ever create a plan. Who gets the money? Who controls the money? Who decides about medical treatment if I am incapacitated? Who cares for my children? Who will care for me as I age and can no longer care for myself and how will those decisions be made?
In our experience, many people begin the estate planning process but never complete their documentation. They never sign their draft copies. They don’t fully fund trust accounts. They become overwhelmed by the entire process and simply give up. We completely understand this.
In many families, a single decision-maker knows that their spouse or other loved ones are not knowledgeable about all of the details of their financial lives. Multiple trusts, accounts, taxation concerns and other assets present a degree of complexity that is very daunting. They need advice and a working relationship with someone they are comfortable with who is also an expert in these areas and can guide them toward a successful outcome.