I met with a client the other day, and he let me know that what we write in these blogs is always so “negative.” He starts to read one, and then STOPS. He was having a good day, and does not want to be brought down by the stories of doom and gloom that his estate planning attorney wrote about!
So I am going to share the positive side of estate planning – when people do it right! Just bear in mind the triggering event of any estate planning tool is negative (like with an insurance policy, the great customer service or prompt payment of a claim only occurs after a tree fell on the roof or the car was dented in a parking lot).
I have a client who had me prepare a Limited Liability Company (LLC) because she has a rental property. Her concern was that if a tenant had an accident, and her umbrella insurance policy did not cover the claim, her life savings would be in jeopardy. Once we put the LLC in place and properly moved the rental home into the LLC, she walked out of my office relieved. You could physically see the weight of worry and concern lifted from her shoulders. As of today, she has not had a “slip and fall” in her rental home, but still has the peace of mind for having the LLC incorporated into her estate plan!
I have recently updated a trust of another client. Her trust needed to have some additional protections and benefits added to the trust terms. Unfortunately, she passed away a few months after executing her amendment. One of the changes she made was to have her daughter added as a co-trustee. I am now working with her daughter, and she has thanked me just about every time we speak because the changes we made earlier this year have made handling her mom’s estate that much easier. She tells me that it is hard to lose a parent, even when it is expected. So by relieving her of some of the burdens associated with closing an estate – streamlining the process – she is able to concentrate on what matters most – remembering her mom and being together with the rest of the family.
I became an estate planning attorney to help people. And this small sample of cases demonstrates to me that I really can make a difference. I really do help people. I look forward to meeting with you, so we can discuss how I can help you too.
Contributed by MH Phoenix and Arrowhead Estate Planning Attorney James P. Plitz
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