3 Things You Must Consider During Your Estate Planning & Why You Should Read Our Free Estate Planning Book Today
Clients often ask for my general thoughts and principles regarding estate planning. Over the years of representing families in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, I’ve tried to confine my answer to 3 principles.
The purpose of estate planning is to at least minimize, if not eliminate, confusion for your survivors. There are some who believe that estate planning is unnecessary. While I obviously disagree with this position, some believe that their survivors will “know what to do” when the time comes. I, however, believe that estate planning is your final act as your family’s provider and it’s my hope that what follows will assist you with your estate planning goals.
I recommend that all of my clients start their estate plan with 3 principles:
- It’s not for you, it’s for them – This principle applies regardless if you have 10 children, 3 dogs, an IRA, and multiple CDs, or if you are a lifelong bachelor with no family, a few assets but some good friends. You are making your estate plan for your survivors. You’re dead and they are the ones who must manage your affairs in addition to dealing with your passing. You have to continuously remind yourself of this principle because we are so used to thinking of ourselves as a part of our family’s decision making process but remember your family will be managing your affairs without your input. The only input that you’re providing are the estate documents you are leaving behind!
- Keep it simple – Obviously, some estates will be much more involved than others but the simplicity principle doesn’t refer to the size of the estate but the language pertaining to the distribution of its assets. An estate plan is a roadmap that directs your survivors. If your roadmap is confusing, it defeats the whole purpose of an estate plan. While it may look impressive to use very technical language and sometimes even necessary, you want to minimize it. Don’t be afraid to tell your lawyer you don’t understand the language in your estate documents. If you don’t understand it, there is a good possibility that your survivors won’t either. Your goal shouldn’t be to impress your survivors but rather to provide clear direction.
- Think with your head, not your heart – This principle may sound awful in theory but it’s critical. You must make an estate plan objectively and not make assumptions based on the current relationships between family members. Relationships change over time for a variety of reasons and so you should design an estate plan that doesn’t make too many assumptions that everyone will get along after you’re gone. This third principle supports the previous two of simplicity and focusing on your family rather than yourself. Objective thinking is especially important when considering the executor of your estate, guardians for your children, and even the attorney you hire.
These 3 principles is what caused me to write the Book – Strong with my wife Dr. Rita Carabello, a board certified family physician in Philadelphia. This book is a great resource and I encourage you to download for free on this website
What is the Purpose of Our Book – Strong?
Through this Book, we want to provide you with an overview of your long term health, long term care and estate planning. We wrote this book together with the intent on providing you with basic knowledge from the professional medical and legal worlds based on our respective educations, our professional training and our experience. People believe that our professional roles are extremely different because your doctor is focused on your health, while your attorney is focused on your death. This, however, is simply incorrect and we hope to show that as you read our book.
Why is estate planning so important for you and your family?
While your family doctor and your attorney may never meet, unless you’re in our situation, it’s important that you and your family keep these two professionals informed about your health, and your long term planning goals. Every family’s situation is unique and maintaining your health while planning for the long term requires the professional guidance of these two individuals. Communication is critical if you want to maximize your experiences with your doctor and your lawyer. The effective practice of medicine and law are similar in that each requires a plan. Setting up a plan without speaking to a professional is like trying to cure a chronic illness without speaking to a doctor or addressing your legal problem with an “off the shelf” product from the local office super store! While you may cure it with some from aisle 5 or 6 at your local supermarket or pharmacy, you may also make it work worse or may miss a far more serious underlying issue which could ultimately ruin your health or kill you! Similarly, the “off the shelf” legal product limits your options and offers a solution without knowing anything about you or your family.
Why you need to read our book Strong!
This book presents topics that are common to families based on our experience in our respective professional practices over the past decade in Philadelphia and its surrounding counties in Pennsylvania. We wrote it using the same explanations that a patient or client would receive in our offices. Frequently clients and patients enter an initial consultation with misconceptions and our goal is to clear up those misunderstandings. We also wrote this book as married couple with two young children. We like you understand that life can change quickly and planning is essential.
Estate planning and long term health don’t have to be concepts which cause confusion or anxiety. A good start is reading this book but learning is a lifelong process. Studies show that we can continue to develop our minds at any age. We are strong proponents of continuous education professionally and personally. This book and the knowledge it contains reflect our professional core values:
- Lead—Leaders don’t follow the standard, they set it.
- Focus—Successful people minimize distractions, find the solutions, and get the results.
- Invest—No one is too busy or too old for exercise, education, and improvement.
- Build—The best establish and grow relationships through education.
- Develop—Teach children to push and make waves and not excuses!
These are also our family’s core values which we try to instill in our children, Alfonso and Flavia, each day. We consider health and planning essential to our success as a married couple, parents and our children’s ultimate success now and later in life. Commitment to these core values isn’t easy or convenient for us and it won’t be easy for them either.
We each understand, however, that convenience and simply following the crowd will lead to mediocrity professionally and personally. It is our hope that this book will help your own family stay healthy, plan effectively an assist with your our own core values. We wish you nothing but success, happiness, and strong results! Finally, while we welcome the opportunity to meet you, this book does not constitute either doctor-patient or an attorney-client relationship. Live well and stay STRONG!Contact an Estate Planning Lawyer Today Please click here to contact us. We offer free estate review so that you and your family understand all of your planning