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ONE SIZE FITS ALL Estate Planning should have You going "HMMM"

Posted by Georgia Maistros | Apr 29, 2021

ONE SIZE FITS ALL solutions are usually not good for People with wealth & small businesses.

Last year, prior to the Pandemic, I wanted to see how an Older Attorney was operating & how he conducted his seminars. It was a Blizzard and I was driving to a small town about 40 minutes from my office. So I called ahead & found out he was not cancelling.

There were 29 people in attendance.  His presentation was 2 1/2 hours with a 15 min break. It appeared to be a well oiled machine. He was a very good presenter, and as such many signed up for their appointments.


In speaking to him, this was a small audience, and usually he gets double WITH about 80-90% signing up for an appointment. $8500 sticker price. As an attorney who has been doing this for over 25 years & funding the trusts with a plan, I had to ask how many came back to update. The 72 year old lawyer with no real succession plan answered, they did not come back.

His presentation was based on fear about what will happen to your spouse and children after you die. I want my clients to made sound educated decisions based on their situation, goals, and concerns.    You should want a plan that leaves a legacy and allows for the care of your family and business.

Estate Planning Is Determined By Your Facts And Situation, And Your Goals.

Take the time to put a well defined plan for your family and business that will work.  I request that you provide me with 2 years of tax returns, copies of statements and your goals for 2 events: 

1. What if you are declared "Incompetent" and cannot manage your financial, legal and health affairs,  and

2.  Upon your death. 

If you are married we look to determine if we should split yours assets, and review if your goals differ from each other.   You also might have children from another marriage, or no children, but want others that you select to have a little something from your assets.   

I am looking at your facts, the statements, and your goals to lay out what would happen if your were declared Incompetent or died the day after we put this plan in place.  This really helps open people's minds to having the real discussion that is needed. Though planning has similarities, no plan or situation is the same.  In today's market I have found family situations must be reviewed to make sure what we put in place does not destroy relationships, allows for continuation of helping or managing family situations.   My goal is to make your plan work when you need it.   This takes careful contemplation, honesty, and decision making on the part of my client.   This is ever so more true for the Small Business Owner, and as such that is likely the time we review how easy it would be for someone to step in your shoes and/or sell the business.   This leads to a more focused working plan.   

Estate Planning Documents Need Reviewed and Updated. 

In the past, most Estate Planning Documents were updated after the children grew up and left home.  In today's world life changes quickly and as such you should be periodically reviewing your situation to determine if the documents need updated.   Also the laws are changing quickly.   You need to know how the law will effect  you.   Many plans did not discuss getting older, and who you would need to empower to take care of you and your assets.   As a Business Owner, we review Growth Plans to increase the value of the Business to a third party; the goal is to look at this as a major investment in your portfolio.    With Business Owners, I usually work with them annually and some need to have me help them on specific goals and issues with a budget in place.    

About the Author

Georgia Maistros

Review Obstacles with the End in Mind and See Opportunities  Working with Business Owners is enjoyable yet challenging.  They are ALL IN, to steal form a popular slogan of a local team.   They have grown a business from a vision in their head to something that supports their family, employees an...