One of the cornerstones of our mission to create estate plans “that work” is our annual client meeting. Every spring client members of our LifeLegacy program gather to hear updates on the practice, learn about legislative and other legal changes of the past year, socialize, and discuss topics of vital importance to their estate planning. This year over 40 clients participated in one of our liveliest discussions ever.
We tackled two main subjects this year. The first involved digital assets. Because this new phenomenon already has created havoc in the orderly administration of estates and will only get worse as the ownership of digital assets multiplies, we have partnered with Directive Communications Systems to assist our clients in managing their digital assets. This partnership will ensure our client families have a smooth transition when needed. Clayton explained their web-based process and walked everyone through the sign up steps. Our goal is for the program to be fully implemented this year.
A second topic involved a discussion of alarming studies showing that more than half of all estate beneficiaries “blow through” their inheritance in 12 months or less. We talked about the need for beneficiaries to have financial education and how to involve our clients’ financial advisors in providing that education. We talked about various ways to impose a “time out” before trust principal could be utilized, as another way to slow beneficiaries down and give them time to make wise decisions. Everyone had some constructive thoughts and comments in a spirited give and take on this subject.
What a great start to the year! Next on the yearly agenda will be our Client Update Program in the fall when all of our clients who planned in an even numbered year will have their living trusts completely updated and restated to reflect both their own personal changes and any legal changes which have occurred over the past two years. Working with our LifeLegacy families is so rewarding and our favorite part of our estate planning practice.