Is your estate plan ready for change?

This e-zine was originally sent on October 2, 2009.

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You are receiving this note because you are a client or friend of Aaron Miller.
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“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
– Wayne Gretzky

Collin County Parents,

Hockey starts this weekend!  I’m so excited!  Go Stars!

I read an interesting article this week on the New York Time’s website.  http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/25/world/europe/25treasure.html?_r=1 Using a metal detector, an amateur archeologist found a treasure trove of Anglo-Saxon 7th century artifacts in what they are calling one of the most important archeological finds in British archeology.  The find consisted of so many gold and silver items that early estimates put it to be worth about $1.6 million.  What really caught my attention was the fact that the guy that found this, Terry Herbert, has been searching fields for18 years without success (unless you count the piece of Roman horse harness he found).  Can you imagine working that long on a goal?  What perseverance!  And when people laughed and made fun of him, he didn’t let that stop him.  If he did, all this treasure would never have been found.  Often when we are working on a goal, we give up just when we are on the very edge of success.  But rather than throwing in the towel, we should remember that success comes to those that don’t let failure stop them – those that keep working at it, and persevere, just like Terry did.  If you do, who knows what you can accomplish? (And whatever you accomplish, it’ll be a whole lot more than if you gave up!)

Well, like I said last week, I love the fall.  For me, fall always sort of has the flavor of “new beginnings”. Perhaps it’s because many of us are still so tied to school schedules, with the new year, etc. It’s sort of funny, as the fall is more precisely representative of the *end* of something* (the spring/summer).  But one thing’s certain (as the old saying goes): change will come.

The government in Washington DC has certainly changed…and the tax and legal code is bound to, as well. So, when that DOES happen, what happens to your estate plan?

Well, if you’ve already put one together with our firm, you know that we’ve got a procedure in place for handling changes and will be consistently monitoring your plan to ensure that shifting legal or tax codes won’t negatively affect your wishes.

But if you HAVEN’T put together your plan just yet, here are some things to ask when you consider getting it done…

Aaron Miller’s
“Straight Talk” Personal Strategy
What Will Happen When Things Inevitably Change?

It’s a HUGE mistake: Lawyers and families not ensuring there is a plan in place for regular communication as the laws and tax code change.

And there’s actually multiple problems here …

Some lawyers don’t have a “team” in place to serve the needs of families.

This creates a “less than ideal” circumstance for a family who wants active management, as things inevitably slip through the cracks.

These lawyers have to spend so much time working “in” their practice, that they don’t have the time (or often, inclination) to make sure assets are owned properly (which means your plan will fail!) or that they’re up to date on the changes which come through every year. This leaves new opportunities untouched, or worse…it can create plans which work for 2009…but not for 2019.

And then what happens if your lawyer retires or dies?

What happens when things change in the life of your family?

Unfortunately, even when there IS a team approach in place, there is no previously-agreed-upon plan for communication when the laws inevitably change, or when family dynamics also become different.

Make sure that your lawyer will notify you when, in fact, there are changes to the tax or legal code, and that they keep in regular communication with you otherwise.

Does the planning fee include a regular review of your plan?

If not, then you’ll be faced with having to initiate reviews yourself, and having to pay additional fees for the privilege, at that.

In fact, the optimum scenario is when a lawyer will provide you with some sort of “estate planning maintenance” program, or membership group for ongoing service–which saves you money and gives you peace-of-mind over the course of your family’s life together.

Hope this helps!

To your family’s wealth, health, and happiness!

Aaron Miller

Miller Law Firm, PLLC
Your Life is Our Life’s Work
101 E. Park Blvd., Suite 600
Plano, Texas 75074
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Written by Miller Law Office

Miller Law Office

The Miller Law Office is here to help you build and protect your legacy. Rather than having a traditional estate planning practice, which is focused on transactions (such as the drawing up of wills and other documents), we have a more relational focus – having on-going contact with clients over the long-term, helping clients to protect themselves and their families.