As estate planning attorneys, we do many things for clients:
- We help clients plan for their own disability;
- We help clients decide who will manage their assets and care for them when they are sick;
- We help clients decide what will happen with their worldly belongings when they die;
- We help clients transmit their family’s legacy to the next generation;
- We help clients plan their wealth transmission to leave assets to the next generation in the best manner to reduce transmission costs such as taxes; and
- We advise clients on the manner in which to leave assets to their children or other beneficiaries to protect those assets for their intended purpose, such as education, retirement, or other goals, and to protect them from future ex-spouses and other potential predators and creditors.
However, perhaps the most important thing we do for clients is help them face their own mortality and make decisions regarding end-of-life care. A recent article in the New York Times examined this topic. The article explained how decisions regarding end-of-life care can be emotionally (and politically) charged. We do clients a great service by helping them address these issues well in advance. We help them decide who they wish to make care decisions and by what guiding principles.
Often, it is tempting to think that the assistance we provide clients relating to the transmission and preservation of their wealth is the most important thing we do. But, when a client and their family are facing end-of-life decisions, having everything in order so they can focus on relationships and easing the transition, the true value of our help becomes clear.
Stephen C. Hartnett, J.D., LL.M.
Associate Director of Education
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (800) 846-1555
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