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ProjectMany people view creating an estate plan as a project or transaction.  Even though this is common, that does not mean it is accurate.  Viewing your estate plan as just a project can have serious negative consequences for yourself and your loved ones.  Rather, you should view your estate plan as a process.

Process vs. Project: What’s the Difference?

Most projects involve multiple steps, and that in and of itself can feel like a process.  For example, first, you have to contact an attorney, then set up an appointment, then gather all your property and financial documents, etc.  However, these multiple steps does not make a project become a process.  These are some of the differences between a project and a process:

A Project:

  • Has a definite end point after creating or implementing something.
  • Requires a leader to plan and execute the project.
  • Its goals, steps, and plans can change at a moment’s notice.

A Process:

  • Creates and maintains value over time by returning to the same task many times.
  • Needs accurate and effective management to create a consistent process that produces the desired and expected results.
  • Changing it requires devoted time and effort.

Estate Planning as Process

Many people think that creating an estate plan involves a definite “end.”  However, viewing it this way is only half the picture.  Rather, your estate plan is a process.  This means that you create your estate plan, but also check, review, evaluate, and update your estate plan so that it keeps up with your life’s changes.  Some major life events that require a review would be a birth of a child or grandchild, a family member passes away, marriage, divorce, significant changes in income,  children or grandchildren entering college, or other big changes.  You may gain or lose trust in the loved one, and your distributions to them may change too.  Truly, your estate plan is as much of a life-long process as your life itself, for that is exactly what your estate plan is meant to address.  If you proactively manage your estate plan and use it to take greater ownership of your assets and how you choose to interact with your family after your passing, the greater chance you have that you will leave a positive and enduring legacy to your loved ones.

Final Thoughts

Fortunately, you should not have to do all this alone.  It is so important for you to surround yourself with qualified legal and financial experts who work with you, guide you through this process, and are committed to maintaining a relationship with you for years to come.  Contact The Rains Law Firm or schedule a complimentary initial meeting to discuss how you can turn your estate plan from a project to a process.