I love being an estate planning attorney. I get to help people plan for the future and I also get to help them in a great time of need.
And sometimes those two worlds collide.
And then all sorts of interesting things start happening.
Estate planning is a lot like business planning in that way – if you have the opportunity to do it when the end is at most a long way off and at least an event that will never come it’s a lot easier.
But we don’t always have that option.
And when worlds collide in the estate planning world a lot of people fall back on “fairness” as an argument.
I wanted to take a moment here to point out something that I think is very important when it comes to fairness and estate planning attorneys, at least from my perspective.
As an estate planning attorney I am not interested in fairness.
I am not interested in making sure everyone is taken care of.
I am not interested in making sure everything is divided equally.
I am not interested in the family dynamics that justify all of the things I’ve just listed above.
All I care about is making sure my client’s estate planning goals are reached.
Christopher Small wants to help you live a rich life now and leave a rich legacy when you are gone. He wants you to have your cake and eat it too. That’s what the #RichLifeLawyer Show is all about. It’s his way of helping you protect your family, create wealth right now, and establish generational wealth, for free. You’ll find information here on estate planning, financial planning, productivity, finance, self-improvement, family protection, tax avoidance, and anything else that will help improve your quality of life (and after-life). Christopher is the owner of CMS Law Firm LLC, a Seattle estate planning law firm. CMS Law Firm does three things really well: (1) estate planning; (2) probate; and (3) trust administration.
Fairness and Estate Planning Attorneys Transcript
On this episode of the show I want to talk about fairness and estate planning attorneys.
Hey everybody, this is Christopher Small and this is episode 84 of the Rich Life Lawyer Show. I am super excited to be here with you today, and I’m kind of excited to talk about this topic. We’re talking about fairness and we’re talking about fairness in the context of the estate planning attorney.
Now, I don’t know how other estate planning attorneys and estate planning lawyers approach their job. But I approach my position without any preconceived notions, any preconceived idea of what’s fair or not fair, of what’s right or wrong. I come into it with a blank slate, and my number one goal is to make sure that my clients do and get exactly what they want, having thought about all of the upside and all of the downside. And that’s important.
This video is always sparked by conversations that I have with and this usually happens in the probate context. So, once someone’s passed away, everybody sees what’s going on, they see where everything is supposed to go, and they say to themselves, “Well, that’s not fair.”
And I’ve got to just tell them, “Look, it is fair, okay? It is 100% fair. You know why? Because the person making the decision, made the decision, that’s what fair is, right?” There are a million different reasons why you would want to, or not want to, give something to someone.
And there a million different little intricacies and family things going on within every family, that create these different relationships, these different dichotomies, these different ways that people respond to each other.
And so, to come into it from the outside and be able to know what’s fair or unfair, is an impossibility. So, my job, my role as I see it is to A do good by the client, and B make sure that they get what they want, make sure that everything goes where they want it to go. That’s my number one job.
And so, when you think about what you’re going to do with your own assets, and when you are in a situation where you’re going to be getting something from someone, let’s just be grateful for what we’re getting. You could be getting nothing. Literally, they could have spent it all, they could have not cared enough to save. They could have not cared about you enough to give you anything.
And by the way, if you don’t get anything, it doesn’t mean they didn’t care. It would have been nice, it would be nice if they explained why they did what they did. But it is what it is. You can waste time worrying about it and thinking about it, and trying to make things right. But at the end of the day, it’s going to be a lot of wasted time and effort, probably.
So, when it comes to the idea of fair, just remember that fair is subjective. You aren’t in charge of defining fair. I’m not in charge of defining fair. No one is in charge of defining fair, except there actually is one person. That’s the person whose assets are being distributed. They get to decide what’s fair, they get to decide who gets what and in what fashion.
So, think about that as you engage in this process over time, we’re all going to find ourselves there at some point. Either on the giving end or on the receiving end. And just remember that fair is fair, it is what it is.
Now, I’m going to leave you with this one little caveat. Sometimes fair is not fair. Sometimes fair is a gift or a will signed under duress, or a will signed thinking one thing, when another thing was happening. That’s an altogether different story that maybe we’ll talk about next time, or the video after that.
We’re going to talk about it at some point. But in this instance, we’re talking about somebody who knows exactly what they want to do, and they do it and you don’t like it. Tough cookies. Okay?
I’m Christopher Small, I’m the owner of CMS Law Firm, I love estate planning, I would love to help you and your family shape the future, create legacy, build generational wealth, or do none of that, if you don’t want to.
Give me a call 206-659-1512 you can email me firstname.lastname@example.org Catch you next time.