Your Estate Planning Project Should Be a Process

By Cory Howes

Many people put their estate plan on a to-do list as a one-time project: “Create estate plan” or “Meeting with lawyer 10:30 a.m. Thursday for estate plan.”

Thinking of your estate plan as a single project or task to complete and move off your list is a common approach. However, this is an approach that can land you in considerable hot water. Here’s why it’s essential to view your estate plan as a process, rather than a project.

A project that takes several steps to complete – like an estate plan – can seem like it’s a “process” already. First, I need to call the lawyer. Then, I need to make time to attend the appointment. Before that, I need to get together these documents.

When you’re creating a new estate plan, it’s natural to see that plan as a project. You’re creating something new when you work with a team to implement your plan. You create a positive change in your life by having an estate plan from not having one. And, you’re right—setting up a trust, preparing a will and implementing your first estate plan certainly qualifies as a project.

But, the goal of the estate plan “project,” however, should transition into an estate planning process by which you check, evaluate, and update your will, trust, and other legal documents regularly – perhaps once a year, but certainly every time you hit a major life milestone, like the birth of child or grandchild, death of family member, divorce, marriage, significant change in assets or income, and the like. When your estate planning is viewed as a lifelong process, your plan is much more likely to serve your family’s needs, whatever they may be, when the time comes simply because you’ve been managing it proactively with each change in your circumstances.

We can help you get started with estate planning project, and we can also help you transition to a lifelong process for updating your plan. We structure our initial planning as a comprehensive process that aligns neatly with an annual service we call EstateCare, where we provide reviews, counsel, and value-added services for a flat membership fee.

Contact me today to learn more about effectively approaching your plans for incapacity, death, asset protection and your heirs or other beneficiaries.