Lessons From the Master


To have know-how or to have knowledge. Hand turns a dice and changes the word  ″know-how″ to ″knowledge″.

To have know-how or to have knowledge. Hand turns a dice and changes the word “know-how” to … [+] “knowledge”.


L. Paul Hood Jr., Director of Giving at the University of Toledo Foundation, Toledo, OH; and, one of the Deans of the estate planning community, recently wrote an article in the NAEPC Journal of Estate and Tax Planning. I recommend the article to estate planners and clients, alike.   Below, is a short summary of his thirty-two tenets for good estate planning:

·        Listen to the clients needs,

·        Give clients control,

·        Mirror the client’s goals,

·        Consider psychological Implications,

·        Get feedback from beneficiaries,

·        Beware of the “Hidden Enemies”,

·        Be flexible,

·        Refrain from absolutisms,

·        Don’t assume order of death,

·        Provide checks and balances,

·        Anticipate post-death problems,

·        Prepare for post-death contingencies,

·        Coordinate efforts among advisors,

·        Beware of misrepresentation of facts,

·        Apply risk management principals,

·        Analyze cash flow, asset values and income,

·        Don’t force inter vivos gifts,

·        Don’t assume its too late,

·        Don’t ignore boilerplate,

·        Don’t force equal treatment,

·        Build on bridges of trust,

·        Carefully select fiduciaries,

·        Avoid restrictive trusts,

·        Consider special situations,

·        Provide sufficient liquidity,

·        Don’t focus on tax considerations,

·        Don’t always defer paying estate taxes,

·        Give high basis assets,

·        Don’t ignore income taxes,

·        Require charitable intent, 

·        Get complete appraisals, and

·        Consider the total situation.

Any one of these tenets is worth a full article, if not book.  If nothing else these tenets serve as both a reminder to the client of the importance of an estate plan and to the attorneys who draft them.

Lessons From the Master originally appeared on Forbes.com

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