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William Rambaum, PA Clearwater & Oldsmar Elder Law Attorney

Two Views of Estate Planning


What is the most important thing to focus on in your estate plan?  Your living expenses in your old age or the wealth that your descendants will inherit?  Should you be transparent with your family members about who stands to inherit what, or does doing so only lead to resentment and hurt feelings?  Should you plan as though you will be healthy for decades to come or that you will require costly medical care?  There is no one size fits all answer; how you configure your estate plan and how much you reveal to your heirs about it varies from one family to another.  A Central Florida estate planning lawyer can help you approach your estate plan in the way that is most suitable for your family.

Focus on Your Personal Values, Not on Dollar Amounts

Amy Arnott of Morningstar says that estate planning is a lifelong process.  While she does not advise using the words “estate plan” with your minor children, or even having long conversations about mortality with your kids when they are young adults, the financial conversations you have with your children throughout your life are part of your estate plan.  While you are still working, and your children are just starting out in their professional careers, talk about your employer-provided retirement accounts, and how you contribute a percentage of your income to them each month.  While your kids are giddy with the feeling of having a paycheck, show them that you are making plans for when you no longer have a paycheck.  When you give them a tax fee cash gift, rejoice that it is tax-free (but don’t put too much energy into grumbling about taxes in general).  It will take away the awkwardness later, when it is time to talk about the more macabre aspects of estate planning.

Focus on Enjoying Your Golden Years

Meanwhile, Rajiv Nagaich has written a rebuttal to Arnott’s article on the Aging Options blog.  He thinks that Arnott focuses too much on the financial aspects of estate planning.  He thinks that seniors should focus more on how they want to spend their retirement, rather than just trying to grow their wealth so that the most responsible of their descendants can be good stewards of it later.  His motto is “my life, my plan, my way.”  In other words, it is meaningless to make an estate plan until you have a detailed idea of how you want to spend your retirement years.  In other words, first decide whether your vision of happiness means a beachside condo in Florida, years of traveling around in an RV, or living down the street from your children, and then think about how to plan for it financially.

Contact an Attorney Today for Help

Even if you only have the vaguest ideas about your plans for retirement and for your will, it is never too soon to talk to an experienced Clearwater estate planning lawyer.  Contact William Rambaum for help with your case.


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