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Adequate, complete planning involves a critical examination of alternative dispositive patterns, careful selection of a design appropriate to the needs of the specific client, attention to tax consequences, sophistication in drafting the written instruments, and diligence in guiding the implementation.
§3.1 You must consider many factors when selecting the estate plan that is most appropriate for your client.
Among those factors are (1) the client’s wishes regarding how the client’s assets will be administered, transferred, and distributed during the client’s lifetime and after the client’s death; (2) the size of the client’s estate and the type of assets owned by the client; (3) the present status of the title to the client’s assets; (4) whether the client or any prospective beneficiary will need assistance in managing the assets; (5) the tax consequences of the client’s desired plan versus alternative plans; and (6) the client’s family situation and whether relationships in the client’s family are reasonably harmonious.
“No clause should appear in any will drawn by you unless you individually know precisely what it means, what objective it is designed to accomplish, what doctrine (if any) of the law it grows out of, and how it furthers the testamentary intentions of this particular client.” W.
Barton Leach, Planning and Drafting a Will, 27 BU L Rev 157, 158 (1947).
With the increasing incidence of identity theft and the importance of maintaining Social Security number confidentiality to prevent identity theft, you should implement appropriate procedures and controls to prevent the inadvertent or inappropriate disclosure of a client’s Social Security number.
At a minimum, these procedures and controls should satisfy the requirements of Michigan’s Social Security Number Privacy Act, MCL 445.81 et seq.
Such a trust can be modified easily to provide the single client with assistance in managing assets.
A conscious effort was made to use direct, precise language in the sample will and trust presented in this chapter.
Similar designations may need to be made for death benefits under retirement plans.