Gold Medal Plans - It’s All in the Details

Like many, I have spent the last couple of weeks watching the wonderful athletes from around the globe compete in the 2012 Olympics.  One of the common stories has been the attention to every detail that these world class athletes engage in when training.  In a story about one of my favorite athletes, Lolo Jones, she talked about how she learned every detail about every movement her body made so that she could be as efficient as possible once on the track.  Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest man, is able to take advantage of his height by taking only 41 steps in completing the 100 meters as opposed to 44 by the silver medalist. Amazing, but when the difference between victory and defeat is measured in fractions of seconds, the details matter!When I played football under the legendary Jesse Parker he always had a portion of practice at the end devoted to perfect plays.  We had to run a certain number of plays perfectly before practice would end.  Every detail was watched and any mistake, from jumping offside to a shirt untucked, meant starting over.  After already spending several hours in the hot Arizona sun this was no easy task.  But Coach Parker understood the saying – “practice doesn’t make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect.”To find success in estate planning or business succession planning, the same attention to detail is required.  A McWill or McTrust will rarely bring the results hoped for.  A McWill or McTrust is a will or trust form where the names are changed by the attorney, but not much else in each will or trust that is prepared.  No time is really spent by the attorney or the client in preparing the plan.  Most of the time you will get out of your planning what you put into it.Whether it is planning for succession of the family farm or other business or planning your estate at death, accomplishing goals requires time and effort.  You and your attorney need to spend the time to truly understand your desires and then put in place the right structure to achieve your goals.  Is there so-called “boilerplate” language involved?  Absolutely.  But boilerplate is really just another way of describing tried and true language that has been proven effective.  The key is having spent the time as an attorney to know what language to use and when.So don’t settle for just showing up at your attorney’s office and getting whatever form is spit out.  Engage in the process, attend to the details and get a Gold Medal Plan.