Resolutions for 2019: Estate Planners, Heal Thyselves

Resolutions for 2019: Estate Planners, Heal Thyselves

Our featured author is Martin Shenkman, who writes about estate planning and charitable giving.

Mr. Shenkman is worried: he feels his industry colleagues are good at dispensing estate planning advice, but poor at following it themselves. It’s an old pattern, often seen, but darn curious, nevertheless.

Recently, Mr. Shenkman gave a talk about trust planning to a high-flight group of industry insiders in New York City. It was a pretty sophisticated crowd, he says, full of advisors, CPAs, attorneys and the like. Shenkman asked an uncomfortable question: how many people in the gathering had Domestic Asset Protection Trusts (DAPTs) or Spousal Lifetime Access Trust (SLATs), two sound asset and tax protection products.

Only two hands went up: his own, and another expert sharing the rostrum. SLATs and DAPTs aren’t only for the ultra-wealthy, he says – any professional with a practice, like a doctor or lawyer, could benefit from them. They’re also good if you’re concerned about estate taxes. So what should his colleagues do?

While Mr. Shenkman doesn’t need a SLAT/DAPT bullet point on his New Year’s resolution list, perhaps they need to pencil it in – while the festive day has gone by, it isn’t too late to update one’s list.

Mr. Shenkman wants to share his own resolutions, but something holds him back. It’s the individuality of each situation, he says. Your needs depend on variables that likely don’t match his, excluding a wild turn of chance. In the end, he satisfies himself with observations that are a bit more general.

Before all else, he recommends a prompt sit-down meeting with your entire advisory team. Together, you should draw up resolutions for 2019 – a list that addresses your unique needs this year and beyond. If you haven’t built such a team, he says, start your own list and make that item the first thing on the agenda.

For more information, please read:
Estate Planning New Year’s Resolutions By An Estate Planner | Forbes


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