Your Peace of Mind Begins with the Initial Meeting

There was a time in my 20’s when I was in excellent physical condition. I would work out religiously. I remember that the hardest thing to do was to get in my car to go to the gym. Once I actually got in my car with my gym bag, the workout was pre ordained. The hardest thing was getting in my car.

It is the same thing with putting your affairs in order. Everyone basically knows that getting a good estate and asset protection plan will protect their assets and save lots of money in taxes and probate fees. Most people know that they can make sure their assets will stay in their family bloodline. Most people know that an ounce of prevention can equal a pound of cure. While all of these things are attractive, it is the STARTING that is so difficult. So how are you to start getting your planning in place so it will be effective? The answer is simple. Make an appointment to discuss your situation.

My office has been providing complimentary initial consultations to prospective clients since 2003. This is a good practice. Many people have misconceptions of what it costs to get a good estate and asset protection plan. In other words, they erroneously think it will be extremely expensive. Many people believe that they do not have sufficient assets to plan. Many people erroneously believe that things will just work out well.

The real expense and cost can be realized if you do not plan. What can go wrong? Things that can go wrong when there is inadequate planning are: loss of your dignity due to court proceedings for guardianship or conservatorship, loss of your dignity due to Terry Schiavo problems, loss of your assets to probate court fees and legal fees, loss of family harmony due to conflicts emerging among your children, loss of your assets to federal estate taxes and income taxes (if you lose the stretch on retirement assets), and loss of assets to in laws in when / if your child gets divorced. Many things can and often do often go wrong. Getting a good plan in place can EASILY avoid all of these problems. The process does not need to be painful or expensive. When you take the first step to see what you should do, what it will involve and what it will cost, you may be surprised.

Just as actually getting in my car to go to the gym to workout was the hardest thing to do in my 20’s, you just might find that the hardest thing to do as it pertains to your planning is making that first appointment. We can usually get a client totally protected in three to four meetings. When I help someone plan their estate, what are the legal matters I am trying to accomplish? Answer: Avoidance of probate, avoidance of estate taxes, deferral of income taxes on retirement assets, leaving assets in trust protected from lawsuits and creating future interests so property stays in blood family through generations. I bet making the phone call to set the initial consultation will probably be the hardest thing you have to do.

Contributed by
Mark F. Winn, J.D., LL.M. in Estate Planning, who is a local tax, asset protection and estate planning attorney.