Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Friday, August 17, 2018

Traditional Estate Planning is Dead

From Forbes:

Estate planning is dead. Gone are the days of creating legal structures to hold your assets, pass your fortune on to the next generation and, of course, avoid paying estate taxes. Gone are the days of planning for your death. It’s time to plan for your life.

We have evolved as a society, and if there is one thing we know now it is that money does not buy happiness. That is not to say that money is not part of the happiness equation. For sure, having enough money to meet basics living needs, so that essential survival is not a concern, is key to happiness. In addition, how you apply your money—that is, what you put it towards—can certainly impact your happiness. But money alone, assets alone, do not a happy person make. Most of us (some still linger behind) have moved beyond just wanting money. We want fulfilling experiences. We want purpose. We want to live a meaningful life and to make our small dent in the universe. We want, in some form or fashion, to change the world.

The reason traditional estate planning is dead is that it has nothing to do with happiness or helping you live a fulfilled life. Estate planning simply addresses what happens when your die. It only plans for the two inevitable certainties of life: death and taxes. What about planning for all of the uncertainties in life, the choices you make and ultimately control? What about planning to build the life you will ultimately leave behind when you die?

Read more here.

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