Our Family Wealth Strategies(sm)
Estate Planning Process
"If you fail to plan, plan to fail."
Sound drafting is important, as is implementation, and I spend a lot of time making sure our clients get both done well. But, effective Family Wealth Strategies depends on careful planning.
The Importance of Education in Estate Planning
A good planning process requires two-way education between you and your Living Trust Lawyer or Estate Planning Lawyer. You need to be educated about planning options, and I need to be educated about you and your family. Only then can I, together with you, help you get an estate plan that will really work well for you.
I need to learn from you about your family, your wealth and your goals. Often, that requires me to help you consider issues you may never have considered before. That usually involves having me help you understand planning options you never knew you had. Often, my wife, Hinda, as a non-lawyer, helps me by explaining these options better than I could alone, in terms that make sense to non-lawyers.
As your estate planning lawyer and living trust lawyer I help you "educate" me in part by (i) educating you concerning a wide range of planning options (tax and non-tax), and in part by (ii) illustrating planning options with the examples Hinda and I know about from thousands of other families.
Many of my clients learn that they can, and want to, accomplish goals for their wealth and their heirs that they had never dreamed possible. Hinda and I both take take great satisfaction when that happens.
Good Planning Can't Be Rushed
My skill and experience as a living trust lawyer in gathering information often enables the two-way education and planning process to go quickly, in a single consultation. But the process should not be rushed, and may take several meetings. I gladly devote the time to work with you to make sure that the plan you adopt is one that meets your needs and that you understand how it meets your need. That is one the reasons I prefer to work on a fixed fee basis - I don't want you to shortchange the "education" process because you are concerned that more attorney-client time will increase your costs. Click here for information about Our Fees.
Drafting Custom Documents
Drafting good documents is both a science and an art.
I have worked collaboratively with more than 2000 estate planning lawyers in WealthCounsel from around the country to refine good templates around which I customize your documents. This enables me to efficiently draft the provisions that meet your planning goals, many of which are selected from thousands of alternative clauses that have passed the test of time and review by many experts. But, I also draft custom language for almost every client, since every client's situation is different. Decades of experience allows me to craft the best language in trusts and other documents to achieve your goals, whether it be language I have previously used, or language that I must custom draft just for you. CLICK HERE for information about the documents included in a Living Trust plan.
The best documents are not much help unless your plan is properly implemented. That includes funding assets into the trusts or business entities that govern your planning, and guiding you on how to use the strategies I prepare for you.
My documentation for my clients includes readable summaries and guidance for using the strategies and operating the trusts or business entities in them. I provide instructions for transferring assets into the trusts or business entities (we call that "funding") we prepare for you and, for an additional fee, will handle the funding process for you.
I also meet with your other advisors and your heirs, with your permission, to explain the operation and benefits of your planning. I love to plan collaboratively with those other advisers and heirs when that works for you. I have been around long enough to know that we do not have a monopoly on good ideas.
I encourage each client to let me meet with his/her CPA so that the CPA understands the reporting implications of the planning. In many cases, to make sure the planning is properly coordinated, I meet with a client's CPA before planning is finalized.
Call Ken Ziskin at 818-988-0949 for a consultation