Estate planning tends to focus on minimizing taxes, especially for high-net-worth individuals, but personal problems may be more pressing for some clients. For such people, the success of the planning process hinges more on dealing with their issues than with their legal, tax and technical matters.
Of the three essential elements to any estate plan, namely, the legal, the financial, and the human factor, the latter can be the most difficult. This challenge was the subject of a recent article in Financial Planning appropriately titled “The Human Factor.”
Generally speaking, the human factor in any estate plan is the sum total of your personal, interpersonal, and family relationships and problems. Planning for these matters means taking everything you know and everyone you love into consideration. While the details will vary according to your own unique circumstances, the Financial Planning article provides some practical guidance.
For example, have you considered the needs of yourself or your spouse (if married), should old age catch up with you physically or mentally? What about the potential of a likely heir having spendthrift tendencies or a substance addiction? Have you given thought to heirlooms and other items of tangible personal property that could trigger family feuds in the absence of clear inheritance direction?
Is that all? Hardly. It does, however, help to get you (and me) thinking about the “human factor” when it comes to our estate planning.
You can learn more about estate planning and elder law issues on our website. Be sure to sign up for our complimentary e-newsletter to stay abreast of issues like these that could affect you, your loved ones and your estate planning.
Reference: Financial Planning (July 1, 2012) “The Human Factor”