Forming Plans that Work

By W. Tyler Melling

When people hear "Estate Planning," they think of forms and instruments like Wills and Trusts. Those forms are an integral part of estate planning, but the forms are useless without ensuring that they take into account factors like family dynamics, assets, life goals, and charitable values.

In my practice, I strive to learn as much as I can about my clients and their needs and goals. I discuss the options with them and give them the knowledge they need to make judgment decisions based on their unique circumstances. After an action plan is implemented, I educate the clients to make sure they understand who to talk to, how and what to file, and what kinds of discussions they need to have with their loved ones. Finally, I follow up with clients periodically to check in and ensure that changes in the law or in their lives have not affected their plans for the future.

Poor relationship management can render the best-laid plans ineffective. The expertise of an estate planner is especially valuable to clients wanting to preserve the relationships of their loved ones. Probate, asset transfer, and trust administration can sometimes sour once close family relationships. A knowledgeable estate planner takes family dynamics into account when considering different planning strategies and vehicles.

Estate planning is less about complex entities, and more about empowering clients to control their own destinies and know that their loved ones' lives will not be adversely affected by a poorly-planned estate.

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Forming Plans that Work
When people hear "Estate Planning," they think of forms and instruments like Wills and Trusts. Th...