Right now, Mary and I are busy writing a book about estate planning. While the book discusses a variety of estate planning tools and explains the legal implications of each, the purpose of the book is to force the reader to evaluate his or her family situation and chose the tool that works best for the family.
Usually, people assume that certain estate planning decisions are made because of an individual’s net worth; however, the assumption is incorrect. While the value of a client’s estate often establishes the parameters for planning, it is only one part in establishing the plan. For example, a client may choose to establish a living trust instead of just a will. This is a decision that is often motivated by the size of the estate or the type of assets in the estate; however, after selecting the appropriate tool the client must make important decisions. The client must select a successor trustee to administer the trust in the event of the client’s disability or death.
Many people immediately select their oldest child; however, your oldest child may not be the best person for the job. Your child may live far away from you or may not be the most responsible of your children. And even if he lives near you and is the most responsible, he may not get along well with his siblings. The book reminds people to look at their family dynamics and select a plan that will allow their estate to be distributed in the most efficient manner possible while maintaining family relations.
Check out the two estate planning books Mary has previously co-authored Guiding Those Left Behind in California and A Will is Not Enough in California. Both are available for purchase through our website www.falkandcornell.com.