What is Estate Planning?
Estate Planning is the orderly disposition (distribution) of your assets to the person or persons of your choice, in the manner you wish to give it to them, and in the most expeditious and cost-effective way possible. Said another way, Estate Planning is the process of giving your assets to who to want, the way you want, in the most efficient way possible. Estate Planning is not just for the disposing of assets, it is also a way to pass on your values and ideas – your intellectual capital, as well as lifetime beliefs, possibly multi-generational in nature, the things that you (and your ancestors) hold dear. Estate Planning is also for those persons who are interested in protecting their loved ones. Through the mechanism of Estate Planning, it is possible to protect against creditors, bad marriages, unwise behaviors, and predators.
Who needs Estate Planning?
With some rare exceptions, everyone needs Estate Planning. We live in the greatest country on earth, a place where any person may exercise their freedom to choose the kind of life they imagine. Whether your estate is large, small, or average, you have the right to exercise your right of self-determination to plan for the management of your estate during your lifetime (incapacity management, including both financial and health care affairs) and at death (the disposition of your estate, tax avoidance or minimization, asset preservation, beneficiary protection, passing on your values, controlling or modifying beneficiary behavior, and more). Those persons who engage in a systematic estate planning process are rewarded with peace of mind and the knowledge that they have availed themselves of all of the resources and techniques currently available for the carrying out of their specific goals. Those persons who neglect to plan unfortunately continue to be “victims”, or better said, their family members or other loved ones continue to be the “victims” of a lack of a formalized plan and are thereby exposed to the problems associated with such disasters, be it increased expense, the unnecessary involvement of courts and attorneys, damage due to the receipt of funds by a spendthrift, special needs child, or unintended in-law, unnecessary exposure to death taxes, inadvertent creation of family disputes, and much more. Further, the lack of a formal plan often leads to a continuing series of problems that span two or more generations.
What do I need to do to develop my Estate Planning?
At Elville & Associates, our attorneys in Columbia, Baltimore, Annapolis, Rockville and Fredrick MD counsel clients about the reality of Estate Planning – that Estate Planning should not be a static, one-time transactional process that results in unintended and unexpected consequences, mistakes, omissions, unnecessary estate tax exposure, loss, excessive cost, and more, but should instead be a living, lifetime process that includes continuing education for the client and their family, plan updating, proper funding, and predictable cost of administration at death – all to ensure that the Estate Plan actually works. To that end, clients are counseled about the Elville proprietary method of planning, the Elville Legacy System (ELS) ©, a ten (10) step interactive educational process for optimal Estate Planning. For those clients who are not interested in an educational planning process, Elville & Associates also offers a traditional Estate Planning path for those persons whose needs require a shorter, three (3) step planning process. If you are interested in taking the first step in the Estate Planning process, simply call us or send an email message to our office today to receive our Estate Planning Questionnaire and to schedule a first consultation with one of our attorneys. Alternatively, you may reserve your seat at our regularly scheduled Estate Planning Essentials Workshops.