Road to Peace of Mind Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Do I really need to "plan my estate," anyway?
Chapter 2 What documents do I need to prepare?
Chapter 3 Planning for Incapacity
Chapter 4 What Do I Need to Plan For?
Chapter 5 Taxes
Chapter 6 What will it cost me if I delay getting my estate planning done?
Chapter 7 Do I Need to Do Anything Else After I Complete My Estate Plan?
Chapter 8 Who Should Help With Your Estate Plan
The Road to Peace of Mind
What You Need to Know About Estate Planning
Long before I knew I wanted to be an attorney, an acquaintance sold me a pony for use in a children's lesson program. Due to an undisclosed medical condition, the pony was unsafe for children. The ensuing litigation process not only sparked my interest in the law, it also brought up a new question: was there a way that this, the public litigation process and the fracturing of relationships, could have been prevented? Later, during my first year of law school, a relative passed away with a poorly drafted will. Though litigation was avoided, the fractured relationships are yet to be repaired. Finally, I had an answer and more importantly the tools to implement the solution. The most effective way to prevent litigation and preserve the family unit is a well-drafted estate plan.
Why then do so many of us put off this simple solution? To answer, let's turn to bestselling author, Stephen Covey ("The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People"), who built a quadrant model to discuss how people prioritize things. Per Covey:
· Quadrant 1 activities are urgent and important. Such as paying your taxes when they are due or renewing your driver's license on time. We get them done.
· Quadrant 3 activities are urgent but not important. This category contains activities such as watching a football game on Sunday night. We tend to respond to the "latest and loudest," so most people do a lot of Quadrant 1 and 3 things.
· Quadrant 4 concerns activities that are neither important, nor urgent. This includes playing Candy Crush online. Most of us spend far too much time in Quadrant 4 than we'd like to admit!
· Quadrant 2 is unique. It concerns important activities that are not urgent. Estate planning falls squarely into Quadrant 2.
The more time and energy we devote to Quadrant 2 activities, the richer and better our lives and legacy become. But working in Quadrant 2 requires focus as well as a deep appreciation of what really matters in life.
Humans are the only species who understand that our lives are finite. This knowledge, that we won't be around forever, has profound effects on what we do and why we do it. Before they come to see me, many clients have diverse concerns regarding the future and the next generation. Many of which they have trouble expressing clearly. We need to deal with this confusion, uncertainty, and lack of confidence. Why? Because it has ramifications for the present!
If you don't feel prepared and protected, it's harder to concentrate on the present — to be spontaneous and free in your personal and business life. Helping my clients protect their hard work, assets, and wishes is a great honor. To me, the work is not just about creating documents and putting together the estate planning "puzzle" — it's also about providing peace of mind and freedom from worry for people who genuinely need it.
Of course, estate plans are also puzzles — and fascinating ones at that. Solving them requires many skills: facility with financial instruments; knowledge of the law; a good "bedside manner"; an ability to listen and empathize; and creativity. What I do is really fun and interesting! In some ways, being an estate planning lawyer is like being a chef. You can choose from many different "spices" and "ingredients" and use an array of "utensils" to prepare nourishing meals, metaphorically speaking.
I wrote this book because I'm passionate about helping people gain control over their lives and achieve their goals. I sincerely hope you enjoy these insights. If you need more specific and personal help, please skip ahead to the end to learn how to get a free consultation (normally valued at $250), so we can strategize together about how to reach your goals in a way that resonates with your priorities and values.