The Chilina Law Firm is an estate planning law firm.

This means that its estate planning attorneys are able to assist clients with developing an estate plan (creating the documents for a trust, will, durable power of attorney, medical directive, etc.), or if a client already has an estate plan, with making changes or revisions to estate planning documents.  Because of this, we see all sorts of challenges that a client faces in developing an estate plan.

Often, clients are reluctant to begin the estate planning process or in the case of a married couple, perhaps one of the two is reluctant to complete an estate plan.  Sometimes this has to do with the fact that creating an estate plan requires the client to acknowledge their own mortality or death and plan for it.

Sometimes clients find it difficult to make major decisions about how their estate will ultimately be distributed after death and to whom it will be distributed to.  In the modern age, some families are complex due to divorce, remarriage, etc. and sometimes the beneficiaries of the estate may increase the complexity such as stepchildren, adoption, children with special needs, addiction and substance abuse, creditor and debt problems, etc.  Because of these complexities, often clients are torn as to who should get what and when.  To add complexity, some clients have family-run businesses or ranches or farms that require careful consideration as to which beneficiaries may want to continue running the business, etc. versus which beneficiaries just want their fair share of the estate.

Usually, a well-developed estate plan includes planning both for the financial aspects of the estate and planning for the healthcare and medical needs of the person creating the estate plan. Generally, an estate plan will require the appointment of one or more persons who will handle the financial aspects of the estate plan and one or more persons who will handle the medical concerns of the person creating the estate plan.  The same person could be appointed to handle both the financial and medical aspects; however, some people are more capable at handling financial decisions and money management and others are more capable of handling the more emotional medical type decisions. Choosing the right person to be appointed to the right position can often be one of the most difficult decisions a client faces during the estate planning process.

A well-developed estate plan will also include analysis of a list of assets that will be a part of the estate plan. Sometimes clients find it time-consuming and difficult to collect and pull together all of the needed documents and financial information in order to properly analyze those assets and develop a proper estate plan.

And yes, then there is a cost to an estate plan.  Clients are often faced with paying attorneys to work with accountants and financial advisors to develop a proper estate plan.  And even after the estate plan is developed, there are still some costs a client will incur such as with the transfer of certain assets to a trust, creating new business entities to be held as an asset of the estate plan, etc.

Ultimately, a well-developed and successful estate plan presents challenges for the client as well as for the estate planning attorney.  But, once an estate plan is developed, almost all clients are relieved that they have worked through the process and the issues and complexity and now have a comprehensive plan in place and are thankful for and have peace of mind that his or her affairs are in place.  The above-noted issues are just a few of the many hurdles clients face in developing an estate plan.  Anyone considering developing an estate plan should contact a competent estate planning attorney such as an estate planning attorney with the Chilina Law Firm.

Authored by Karen Chilina and Co-Authored by Greg Chilina

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