Problems and Solutions

I was honored to be one of the presenters at the Salt Lake Estate Planning Council’s Fall Institute on Thursday.  I had a chance to teach other planners about the tools and techniques that can be used when planning for legacy assets, like a family cabin or a family farm.  In attending one of the other presentations during the day, I was struck by this comment from Alan Gassman and attributed to Bob Burke:For every complex situation there is a simple answer . . .. . . and it is the wrong answer.  Complex problems almost always call for complex solutions.This statement resonated with me as it probably did with most of the others in attendance.  I am fairly certain that every Client that I have ever worked with has told me at least once in our initial meeting:  “I don’t want anything too complicated.”  Unfortunately, Mr. Burke, by way of Mr. Gassman is largely correct.  The true problems you face in your individual succession planning situation or estate planning situation are problems because they are not always easy to solve.  Some problems, like probate avoidance for example, are certainly easier than others fix.  But, to change the status quo and improve your situation usually requires effort.  More complex problems will require greater effort and often complexity.If you want to go through probate, pay the highest amount in taxes, have a family farm or ranch lost in a family fight, or be completely exposed to the creditors of your business, the solution to your problem is very simple.  However, if you have goals to avoid probate, minimize taxes, smooth the transition of farm or ranch to the next generation, protect your assets, or take care of a special needs child, then there is some work to be done.