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Choosing A Brain Trust For Your Estate Plan


Even now, nearly a century after it formed, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Brain Trust” still gets the occasional shout out in journalistic think pieces.  President Roosevelt’s Brain Trust was a group of legal and economic scholars from whom Roosevelt sought advice on policy, and some of whom held positions in his cabinet; one of them even coined the term “New Deal.”  In those days, the term “trust” referred to the kinds of mega-corporations that result from corporate mergers, the sort that the Sherman Antitrust Act sought to curtail.  Contrary to stereotypes, not everyone in the Washington DC area is an economist or a policy wonk, but everyone here is mortal, and therefore, we all need an estate plan.  According to Andrew Lerner of Forbes, estate planning is less stressful and more effective if you surround yourself with your own brain trust of knowledgeable professionals who can advise you on various aspects of your retirement and estate plan.  At least one of them should be a Washington DC estate planning lawyer.

Financial Planners and Fiduciaries

You need a brain trust even if your assets are modest enough that you can tell that you need to be cautious with them for your money to be able to sustain you during retirement.  It is worthwhile to find a financial planning specialist that you can trust, one who can diversify your investments so that you can have multiple income streams during retirement; beware of financial planners who are too pushy about investments that benefit them financially.

If you establish a revocable trust, it is a good idea to appoint a professional to act as the trustee.  This way, you do not have to put yourself or a family member in the position of being the target of the complaints from beneficiaries, accusing you of favoring another beneficiary over them.  It can also help you avoid worrying about your trust assets on a day-to-day basis.

Choosing a Personal Representative for Your Estate

Just as the beneficiaries of your will can be anyone you choose, including but not limited to family members, you also have a lot of flexibility regarding your choice of personal representative.  You are free to choose a family member, but if you think that this would cause conflict or be burdensome for your family, you can also choose a lawyer, or even a friend that you know would be willing to take on the task.

Should Family Members Be Part of Your Brain Trust?

It is your choice whether you include any of your family members in your brain trust.  Every family relationship is different.  If you have a family member with whom you would get along well (or actually have gotten along well) with in a business partner relationship, this family member is probably a good candidate for the role of personal representative of your estate or some other role in your estate planning brain trust.

Contact Tobin O’Connor Concino P.C. About Professional Advice on Your Estate Plan

An estate planning lawyer can be an essential part of your estate planning brain trust, even if you are still years away from retirement.  Contact Tobin O’Connor Concino P.C. for help today.



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