Estate and Trust Planning:  Going Beyond Just the Numbers and into the Heart

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Estate planning professionals are taught early on that they need to be objective.  It is an essential element of the practice to be dispassionate when approaching the work. We are brought into the mix to assist our clients with minimizing the costs of probate and to help them find ways to reduce the impacts of various taxes and fees related to one’s death. We are often enamored with the latest trust techniques out there that can be employed to meet sophisticated gifting and distribution goals set for our clients.

Understanding the points above, I was reminded again last week that there is much more to the estate planning story than the mechanical muckity muck of law and taxation.  I was meeting with a client to discuss a revocable living trust in his planning. He had many perceptive questions about the use of a trust in his potential plan. After we counseled for some time, he was satisfied that the trust was the best option under his circumstances.  Once there, he leaned back in his chair and said simply: “I want to do this because I love my children and my grandchildren.” With that said, our path for his plan was decided.

It was fitting that the date of that meeting was right around Valentine’s Day. As with most estate plan meetings happening everywhere, I provided a list of trust planning pros and cons on a whiteboard. I’ve never added the word love to my list of pros. However, I think that love is a major factor in why folks plan in this way.

Put simply, the motivation for estate and trust planning goes beyond just the numbers and into the heart.

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