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Caring For Generations

Inviting Your Estate Planning Attorney to Criticize Your Thinking

by | Aug 2, 2023 | advisors, Directives, estate and tax planning

As “Pete the Planner” Peter Dunn relates in a recent Indianapolis Business Journal column, he was “shaken back into healthy business communication” while interviewing candidates for job openings at his company. Rather than merely responding to Dunn’s questions, those candidates asked him what he calls a beautiful question: “What gives you any pause about hiring me for this position?

That was brilliant, Dunn thinks, not only conveying the candidate’s desire to communicate honestly, but allowing him to voice any concerns he might have had about the candidate’s chances of success in doing the job. Dunn is telling readers – in consulting with financial advisors, encourage them to tell you things you don’t want to hear. “What gives you pause about the assumptions I’ve made or the risks I’ve taken on?”

Demonstrate to your advisor, Dunn urges readers, that you would welcome constructive criticism of your plan as it now stands.

As is true of financial planners, estate planning attorneys are dedicated to helping clients fulfill their goals. At Geyer Law, we offer guidance as our clients work to build and protect wealth, start, purchase, or sell businesses, provide for their own future needs and the needs of loved ones, and leave legacies to people and to causes of their choice. Most people are not schooled in the intricacies of the planning process; as an article by Buckley Law out of Colorado Springs puts it, “Most people want to pay as little as possible in taxes, keep control over their assets, and keep it simple.” Often, however, when family dynamics come into play, estate planning decisions are rarely very simple.

Different generations can have different approaches when it comes to estate planning, the Hickman-Lowder law firm’s blog so correctly observes, with Baby Boomers opting for detailed, structured plans, and Millennials and Gen Y-ers more concerned with ethics and social responsibility. At Geyer Law, we have always emphasized the importance of “the talk”, in which adult children and their parents discuss what to do if the parents become unable to live independently. Now, with distancing requirements, it becomes crucial to have those talks. Each generation is frightened for the other; each needs reassurance of help being available and of being able to help..

With the aid of today’s technology, we are inviting our clients to have us arrange video and teleconference group talk sessions. But we invite clients to invite us to “critique” their thinking and to reveal which aspects of their planning are “giving us pause”.

– by Cara M Chittenden, Attorney with Rebecca W. Geyer & Associates