There is an well-worn reply among lawyers to the line: “Why are divorces so expensive?” The reply is “Because they’re worth it.” Of course, this reply, no doubt, has multiple layers of meaning for every person. Especially depending on where one stands after a divorce.
But, on one level the reply makes a great deal of sense. I am a strong believer that clients benefit from having an experienced, knowledgeable lawyer. Obtaining good legal and tax counsel is a cost-benefit investment that in most cases produces benefits well beyond the expense and time. Lawyers can also help give their clients a comforting degree of repose and peace of mind.
Now, applying the above notion to asset protection and estate planning, unfortunately this planning often appears to clients, on the surface, to be nothing more than a transactional expense and time-consuming burden. Very easy to put off until later. There typically, and understandably, is no strong emotional motivation for this planning, compared to the threat of divorce.
But, I also believe most people are aware of the thousands of reported court cases and anecdotes among friends and family illustrating the vast number of costly problems arising from the absence of asset protection and estate planning. But, then again, we all tend to think these problems only happen to others. Not to our family.
So, a universal question most families need to ponder is the possible surfacing of a divorce by a son-in-law or daughter-in-law with war-like efforts to grab the other spouse’s inheritance. This question touches directly on asset protection and estate planning. In addition, and more subtle, are increased taxes (including income tax) that result from inadequate and inflexible estate planning.
Another universal point on this subject of preventive planning, that I repeat constantly, is: Don’t help line your lawyers’ pockets by getting caught in costly, and otherwise, preventable legal and tax issues. Seek out a lawyer’s preventive review of your situation ASAP. It is an investment, not simply an expense.