Estate Planning By Rules, Not A Checklist / York, PA

MP900442488There are basic rules and guidelines that apply to every estate plan, whether it is taxable or not. Draft an effective plan by paying attention to these guidelines, regardless of what the tax law is or might become. You always can make adjustments if the tax law changes.

A plan for your estate that’s not committed to paper is no plan at all. But, you might protest, how can you finalize the plan when you don’t yet know the tax rules that are going to be in effect? The thing is that every estate at every stage should have a plan in place because, if nothing else, there are always the basics that have to be attended to, and yes, even if they may be likely to change.

Planning for the estate is really an ongoing activity. Accordingly, estate planning is not a “one-and-done” event, but rather it is a process to continue as things inevitably change. In this sense, you might say that proper planning, as an activity, is not guided by a checklist but by rules to follow. InvestingDaily offered some useful perspective on the rule-driven process of planning in a recent article titled “10 Basic Rules of Every Estate Plan.

Here are the ten:

  1. Do something
  2. Keep track of your estate
  3. Estimate cash flow
  4. Choose executors and trustees
  5. Anticipate conflicts and reduce them
  6. Don’t search for a perfect solution
  7. 7.      Don’t be a control freak
  8. Make your general plan known
  9. Don’t circulate your will
  10. Things change
  11. Keep it as simple as possible

I’ll leave it to the original article to explain each of the ten one by one, and there is much to be said for each.  What strikes me is that each rule is really an ongoing process or else a mantra to be repeated. Although not exhaustive, especially for those of us with special considerations, these are at least the basic rules and should serve as a helpful guide.

In the end, if you treat estate planning as the process that it is, then such thinking will help keep you in the right mindset to enjoy ongoing estate planning peace of mind.

For more information about estate planning rules, please visit my estate planning website.

Reference: InvestingDaily (April 17, 2014) “10 Basic Rules of Every Estate Plan

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