When people learn that I am an estate planning attorney, I usually get asked this question: “Should I have a will or a living trust?” Then, conversation usually turns to what the prospective client heard could or would happen with one or the other. It’s as if I’m a surgeon and the patient is telling me what they “heard” were the advantages of using one stitching procedure over another.
I usually surprise them by telling them that they should get neither. You see, estate planning is not about the documents, it’s about the RESULTS.
Whether you have a will or a living trust doesn’t matter if the plan isn’t tailored to meet your goals!
here are a lot of estate planning attorneys in New Jersey. However, I’ll be brave enough to say that what passes for estate planning in America is little more than word processing. Estate planners, eager to engage a client, hear that a client wants “it” (whether “it” is a will or a living trust) and then proceeds to fill out one of three forms. However, without counselling (note the Old English spelling), that will or trust could be the wrong vehicle for that situation.
Let me ask a question: What do you think of a doctor who prescribes a drug simply because the patient saw a commercial on TV? Why should estate planning be any different?
Estate planning needs to be an ongoing process that centers on the client’s goals.