Often, our most creative solutions as estate planning attorneys are found because a specific client had a specific problem and, working together, we discovered a creative way to solve it. We tinker with these solutions with other clients who have similar problems and, over time, develop systems to solve problems that affect many clients. We have started to draft memos that generally state the way we like to handle certain estate planning situations.
Our Contingent Testamentary Trust memo tells our clients our philosophy for handling issues facing new parents or clients with younger children (as Denver would say, “Kids with kids.”) The memo about tangible personal property describes our unique system for dealing with your “stuff” upon your death, which is the issue we find creates the most problems after clients pass. The memo about Living Wills and Medical Powers of Attorney was written during the Terri Schiavo case, when many of our clients had concerns about the treatment they or their family member would receive if they were to fall into a persistent vegetative state. Our Stretch IRA memo describes an excellent income tax-saving technique for clients with IRAs and 401(k)s.
Our forms section includes our firm’s Personal Information Questionnaire. We ask our clients to fill out this form every three years so that we will be able to pass necessary information on to the appropriate people should something happen to the clients. The forms section also includes blank forms that our clients fill in to transfer tangible personal property (described in the “Tangible Personal Property” memo, above.) Our clients fill out these forms, send them back to us, and we store them in our files. Upon the death of the client, we are able to tell the family important details such as exactly where the key to the safe deposit box is kept, and who is to receive Grandma’s yellow pie plate.