There are a million reasons to give to charity, and perhaps even more worthwhile causes to support. Maybe you have always made donations to your alma mater, your church, or the local animal shelter. Many of us give actively in our lifetime, but never spend time thinking about giving after we’ve passed, or what that would even look like. Death is morbid, but moving the conversation away from this fear of the unknown, and instead, toward the future impact you’d like to make, can have an enormous lasting legacy for a nonprofit near and dear to your heart. What’s more, your will can simply and effectively help you achieve such a legacy.
It feels impossible to decide who is best suited to handle your financial or healthcare decisions on your behalf should the time come that you are no longer able to decide these things for yourself. Equally daunting is who to task with carrying out your wishes when you pass away. Considering not only who to choose, but how to choose feels weighty. In an effort to help my clients navigate this naming process, I’ve made a list of considerations - in order - of what I feel should be the priorities in naming a fiduciary.
When you own a business, your reputation precedes you. In this time of great dependence on technology, before I meet with a client for the first time, it is highly likely that they have googled my firm, read past client reviews, studied my website, and so on. Much like online dating, finding the right attorney can be intimidating, and there is a wealth of information one can dig up before the in-person litmus test can be conducted. Considering this, I recently found myself asking: what is it that I want potential clients to know about me right off the bat? The three adjectives that come to mind are practical, reliable, and local.
You often hear “eat local” and “shop local”, but what about “legal local”? Admittedly, that does not have quite the same ring to it, but the premise is the same. When you hire a local attorney, not only are you getting a more personally tailored legal experience, but also, you are investing in your community. It is increasingly important for communities, especially small towns and neighborhoods, to invest in their local professionals (think: lawyers, accountants, doctors and others), as it grows diversity and connectivity, bolsters economic stability, and, ultimately, allows for communities to be more well-rounded, self-sufficient and sustainable.
People often ask me if they need a Will or a Trust. This is a good question, and, ultimately, arriving at the answer depends on what you are trying to accomplish. Your reasons and objectives for your estate plan go a long way toward making the determination regarding which tool to use.
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