At this point, it seems doubtful that the clouds will be breaking for our troubled American economy anytime soon. When there’s a storm, sometimes the best thing to do is to hole up with a book and wait the rain out before making plans.
If we keep the metaphor of thunderstorms, then estate planning is an area of financial planning that’s being rained on from several directions at once. The shaky economy makes future finances and the state of savings and other assets anything but clear. Meanwhile, the estate tax is a deluge of proposals, rejections, inaction and disagreement.
For anyone considering the creation of a will, trust or other tool of estate planning, the weather outside is frightful.
However, waiting out the storm isn’t an option with estate planning. While it may be a reasonable decision in other situations, it’s not here.
As wealth manager Justin Stets says in an article by Mark Klimek for The Wall Street Journal, “Estate planning, tax planning, investments, discount rates and interest rates don’t always fall into alignment in one economic cycle, but it’s the fiduciary responsibility of the adviser to say, ‘We may not have clarity, but let’s look at things you might do based on what we do know.'”
When it comes to estate planning, it’s usually better to have something as opposed to nothing at all. However stormy it is on Wall Street, you can still plan with what you have and what you know.
The broader future will happen regardless, but you can exercise more control than you think over your own.
- Doing Nothing Not an Option for Estates (The Wall Street Journal)