Each family is unique and should have an estate plan which reflects its specific requirements. Your estate plan should represent your family’s hopes for the future while meeting its current financial needs. For example, a couple married for many years will surely need a different estate plan than a second marriage couple with children from the previous marriages. In addition, high net worth families may need to employ special strategies to minimize estate, gift, income, and generation skipping taxes.
Estate plans can take a number of different forms and may include an education trust and the nomination of a guardian for minor children; a special needs trust for a child or spouse with disabilties; or even safe trusts for heirs who may not be able to manage their inheritance or who may be facing divorce. Alternatively, some families may find that their needs are simpler and do not require any trusts; for them, a simple will may serve their purposes well.
Whatever your family’s needs may be, you’ll want them to be met by a knowledgeable and compassionate estate planning attorney. You’ll want to choose someone who will listen to your family’s specific concerns and needs with an open mind. An estate plan should not be a standard set of documents based on numbers and averages. There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to estate planning. Families will want to sit down together and seriously consider their specific situation before meeting with an estate planning attorney.