top of page

Wealth Planning News

Vol. V, No. 6

What is the Planning Process?


Wealth planning is a process. It is planning for now, for yourself. It is planning for a way of life for yourself and those you love. It is planning for the future, for you and for your loved ones. It is inheritance planning. It is income tax planning. It is gift and estate tax planning. It is planning to do good for causes you like. It is planning to foster qualities you admire in your descendants, maybe even remote descendants not yet born. It is planning for quality of life for those who share that continuous strand of existence, that celestial spark of life, that burns in you and in those who descend from you.


Wealth planning involves a wide range of human needs, hopes, dreams, and desires.

Steps to Take

First: You and your planning professionals gather and analyze your relevant personal and financial data. Planning professionals can include your lawyer, your accountant, your insurance advisor, and your financial advisor. Some information can only be disclosed by you to your lawyer if you want to keep the information confidential from anyone else including the IRS or any court that might try to obtain the information.


Second: You and your planning professionals review your existing personal, business, and estate planning documents that re­late to your personal financial plan and estate disposition plan.


Third: You discuss with and give to your planning professionals all types of information about your needs, hopes, dreams, and desires as they relate to planning possibilities. You discuss goals you have, and discover possible goals that you may not have been aware of. Again, things that you want to be sure remain totally confidential will only be disclosed to your lawyer.


Finally: Your planning professionals help you develop a personal wealth plan to meet your needs and goals


Things to Avoid

Avoid do-it-yourself estate or business planning documents. The concepts and the laws are just too complex.


Avoid do-it-yourself planning such as joint tenancy that deprives you of the dignity of control, or pay on death designation of assets in a manner you would not have chosen, or designation of beneficiary items for a similar reason.


This type of piecemeal planning may have unexpected consequences and result in estate disposition that is far from equal among your loved ones when you previously thought and expected it would be equal. For example, if you become disabled and have named one of your loved to pay your bills and expenses out of your funds using a power of attorney, your designated agent may unknowingly or even intentionally pay most of your expenses from assets or accounts you have designated to pass to someone else.




In This Issue

What is the Planning Process?

Steps to Take

Things to Avoid



This type of planning is often done by very intelligent and well-meaning people who have a good hold on the value of their various assets, but who fail to appreciate the simplicity of doing planning using a technique of retaining the full dignity of control and disposition that takes into consideration the elegance of planning using an approach that takes into consideration your entire estate instead of just individual parts of it


Avoid non-lawyers who offer to prepare documents. Non licensed advisors are not allowed to practice law, and they start off by lacking integrity.


Avoid lawyers who don't use all of the tools available. If a so-called estate planning lawyer never ever uses revocable trusts, that lawyer is practicing law with one hand tied. Find a lawyer who keeps up with current techniques (although revocable trusts are really ancient devices, they are still not used by most general practice lawyers).


Avoid lawyers who don't use customized documents for your special needs. Don't use skeleton or bare-bones documents that have no flesh, no sinews to hold things together, no brain to make sure things are done properly, and no heart to carry out your hopes, dreams, and desires. Find a lawyer who does only wealth planning.


Avoid, or be very careful with, lawyers who only charge by the hour. If you want someone to slow down, just pay them by the hour. Instead, find a lawyer who will visit you without charge, or with a reasonable set charge to find out if you are a candidate for wealth planning. Then decide whether what the lawyer asked you made sense to you.


If you're ready to explore your own planning possibilities, call us for a free initial consultation.

Copyright 2022 Hopp & Associates, PC

bottom of page