Estate Planning Basics – The Lawyer’s Role

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 11,877
    Attorney Mike Collins discusses how to put an estate plan into place, including when to pull in a lawyer.

    Michael T. Collins: Hi! I am Attorney Mike Collins. Today we are going to spend some time talking about some solutions that you might want to consider as you prepare your own estate plan. We anticipate as many of these difficult situations as we can, put somebody in charge, give them the authority they are going to need and leave them with my instructions. First of all, let me clear up a misconception that's quite commonly shared. I am a lawyer, not a Financial Advisor. So I'm not going to be talking about investment choices, risk tolerance, where the market is going, no, I'm going to be talking about the lawyer's role in the estate planning process. It's relatively easy to describe, the lawyer's mission is to try to help you so arrange your affairs that we can make these transitions as smooth, seamless, streamlined, if you will, as we possibly can and to get to it, we are going to look ahead and we are going to try to focus on the, sort of home in on the transition points that occur in people's lives. Now, how we are going to do that? Well, first of all, as we gaze ahead, we've got to try to anticipate, foresee as many of these potentially troublesome situation, circumstances, laws, regulations, taxes as we possibly can. Let's assume that when somebody dies, there were a hundred things that might come up. I can pretty much assure you that in your case, your family situation, 86 of those won't come up, just won't be an issue in your family. So the first thing we have to do when you do this together with your advisor is to say try to identify and then confront, address as many of these potentially troublesome situations as it's feasible to do and then having spotted those issues, you get at least three tasks, first of all, designate your decision maker, secondly, and by the way I find this one too frequently neglected, you want to make sure you invest your decision maker with the authority they are going to need and lastly, most importantly, you want to leave your instructions. What do you want done? What I want done, if for instance I can't manage for myself, I want to live in my own home as long as that's possible, I think most folks probably do, that's no longer feasible. Here is the care I want to receive, here's how I wanted to use my money for my benefit and my spouse and my family.

    So, this is what estate planning is about from the legal standpoint.