The Wall Street Journal’s Voices column picked up my comments on choosing the right estate attorney. You can read the full article here (subscription to the WSJ may be required), and an excerpt follows below. Enjoy!
Many people think estate planning is mostly about having the right papers in place, but it’s really bigger than that. It’s about managing people. At the end of the day, you can do everything by the book—a will, trusts, custodian arrangements—but none of this necessarily matters if your heirs don’t know where the documents are, what to do with them, or are too emotionally overwhelmed to act.
This is where a good professional can really prove their value. After I had kids and it came time to update my estate plan, I took the details of my financial life—everything from my business-checking accounts to the kids’ college funds—and gave copies to my estate attorney. I then gave my wife, mother and mother-in-law the attorney’s business card and said: “If I die, call her. She knows where everything is.”
This is the kind of advice that I now give to my clients. Simply having the right documents isn’t enough; once you organize your estate plan, you need to pass it to a professional who can hold your heirs’ hands through the process after you are gone. You need someone who can take charge in their time of need.
You can read the full article here (subscription to the WSJ may be required).