A few years ago, I was approached by a financial planner, who wanted me to lead an estate planning seminar for her clients. When I asked her why she had chosen me, she replied “Because I checked you out and noted that you were born on August 27th. Your Astrological sign is Virgo. Virgos are critical thinkers, who analyze and advise. So I wanted you for the job”. 

In my 42 years of practicing law, I have attracted clients for many reasons, but this is the first (and only) time that I was chosen because of my Astrological sign!

Incidentally, I opened the seminar by telling those present that my role as an estate planning lawyer was to analyze, criticize, and advise. Analyze and examine what my clients own and their intentions with respect to distribution upon death – simply put,  who gets what! Criticize if I felt that any of their wishes would likely create legal or other problems. Lastly, advise them on an effective plan to document their intentions.

Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash

In the bigger picture, a lawyer is really the quarterback of the team that comes together to structure an estate plan. The lawyer as quarterback is the leader of the team. Members of the team include, firstly and most important, the clients themselves because it is their intentions that ultimately guide what is documented. Key members of the team can also include:  

  • an accountant familiar with the clients’ financial and tax position so that income taxes can be minimized;
  • a financial planner or counsellor familiar with the clients’ investment portfolio and investment philosophy;
  • an insurance agent familiar with the clients’ current insurance coverage and future needs; and,
  • a funeral home director familiar with the clients’ intentions with respect to cremation or burial.

An estate planning lawyer gathers all the important information and recommends various alternatives for an effective plan. Just like a quarterback, he huddles with all members of the team and then proceeds to direct the plan, which may include:

  • a last will and testament
  • a trust like an alter ego trust, joint spousal trust, and family trust
  • power of attorney naming individuals to make financial decisions when you mentally or physically cannot
  • representation agreement naming individuals to make decisions about health and care when you mentally or physically cannot

At Kahn Zack Ehrlich Lithwick LLP, we have many lawyers who are football fans, but more important is that fact that we have many lawyers who know the best way to develop a successful and winning estate plan. Contact us at 604 270-9571 or send us a message to schedule an appointment with one of them. We promise not to drop the ball!

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