Your Estate Strategy Is More Important Than Ever

Monday, 24 Jan 2011 07:26 AM

By Denis Kleinfeld

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With everything that is going on in this crazy world, it seems like most people are scrambling just to stay afloat. They aren't taking the time to plan and create a successful future.

Every day I hear the "not right now" excuse. Everything else seems to be a priority except putting in the time, effort and money for professional advisers to do what it takes to protect your estate and financial security.

Recently, one of my clients skipped an appointment to sign some important financial and estate-planning documents just so he could make his practice session for a golf game. He had a heart attack on the seventh hole.

Problems that would have been easily avoided by a short meeting and signing some documents now have become major — and expensive — difficulties.

Overcoming the illusion about mortality (as well as investing) is a sobering and daunting task.

I have never yet found the magic button that can be pushed to overcome most people's preference to deal with every other urgent matter except those that may involve their delusions about the safety of their investments — and facing the life's ultimate risk event: death.

Success most often comes to those who plan for it. This is true for financial planning and estate planning. The problem is that few, even the retained professional advisers, really spend the time and effort it takes to create a vision of what the overall master strategy should be.

Things are organized on a piecemeal basis responding, usually, to some immediate issue. But there is no master strategy and game plan.

What does it take to develop a game plan? How about a conscious effort recognizing that without one, you are always going to wind up losing?

It takes three parts:

• What is your current position — personally and financially?

• Where do you want to be? If you did everything right, and it was a perfect world, then what would your desired goal look like?

• Determine what you need to get to your goal and what compromises are you willing to make along the way.

The government, for example, has a very straightforward financial and estate plan for you. Basically, they want to take 50 percent or more of everything you have while you are alive and then take the rest when you die.

So, if you don't get a winning game plan in place, then this government has a sure-fire winner in theirs.

What's important in developing your financial and estate plan? You need to take into account a well formulated tax strategy, an ongoing investment strategy, constant monitoring of risk management, and dealing with the reality of dysfunctional family and business ties. This isn't easy. Never has been.

Face up to the fact that financial and estate planning isn't a single act but an ongoing process.

With an overall game plan in place, and an ability and willingness to adjust to changing personal, legal, regulatory, and financial conditions, it may just be possible for you to enjoy the rewards of your life's efforts of energy, enterprise and thrift.

© 2014 Moneynews. All rights reserved.

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