Too often estate planning focuses on technical nuances of complex tax matters, or intricate legal issues, drafting finesse and almost anything other than the human aspects of estate planning. These latter matters in some instances can be more critical to the success of the plan then the tax, legal and other planning. The most brilliant estate planners cannot help planning for an issue they are not aware of. Example: A very wealthy client may be embarrassed to acknowledge that a family member has a gambling or theft issue. Not knowing there can be solutions, why raise the problem? Example: What should be done to protect, while not unduly disempower, a beneficiary living with bipolar disorder?
One approach is to enlarge the scope of the professional planning team. When useful involve a care manager, social worker, charitable gift officer, religious adviser (e.g., a priest, imam, or rabbi). Both the client and the team should work together towards identifying all material human or personal issues and make the estate plan, legal documents, and administration of the plan, as holistic as necessary to address client goals. This monograph will outline many of these human or personal points to illustrate how this can be done. The true scope of these matters, however, is as varied as is the human experience.
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