Estate Planning For Lawyers

Jackie is back this week for another insightful live session with Marlene Doss of Aion Law. Their conversation starts with Jackie expressing admiration for Tina Turner and her resilience, highlighting her ability to start over and achieve success. The focus then shifts to the importance of estate planning and getting one’s affairs in order. There is a tendency for busy professionals, including lawyers, to neglect their personal estate planning. The concept of the “shoeless shoemaker” is introduced, referring to professionals who excel in their field but fail to apply their expertise to their own lives. 

Our guest, Marlene Doss, explains that her firm aims to make the law accessible to everyone, including lawyers who often prioritize their clients’ needs over their own personal affairs. They discussed some challenges faced by lawyers, such as busy schedules and family responsibilities, which can make it difficult for them to prioritize estate planning and this often applies to both lawyers and the general public. 


Tell us about your experience as a lawyer getting her estate plan in order 

Marlenne shared her personal experience as an estate planning lawyer who procrastinated her own estate planning. Despite understanding the importance of having a plan in place for her family, she struggled to prioritize it. It is usually easy to keep pushing estate planning to the back burner hence the need to take action and seek professional assistance to ensure that assets are protected and loved ones are taken care of. 

 Jackie and Marlene emphasized the importance of updating wills, especially considering the impact of COVID-19 and life changes like having children or getting divorced. Jackie also mentions holographic wills, which she has seen lawyers draft for themselves, expressing concern about potential mistakes or inadequacies in those documents. 


What are some common mistakes Lawyers make when it comes to planning their estate?  

 Marlenne starts with some mistakes she observed in holographic wills and stresses the importance of involving professional estate planners. She highlights issues like beneficiaries acting as witnesses, missing or insufficient provisions for capacity challenges, and overlooking tax considerations. Jackie suggests that lawyers drafting their own wills might have blind spots due to their biased perspective or limited knowledge. We often underestimate the value of consulting with experts like financial advisors who can provide guidance and help ensure important details are not missed. 

Lawyers also need to pay particular attention to guardianship and children’s trusts, especially if they lack expertise in those areas. She mentions the benefits of collaborating with accountants during the estate planning process, especially for lawyers with professional corporations. They discuss the case of a successful family lawyer with a blended family who reached out for assistance in creating an estate plan that considers his new spouse’s children. Take action today and schedule consultations with professionals to address these complex dynamics to ensure your estate plan is properly executed. 


Why is it important to hire experts for your estate plan? 

Left to our own devices, we may procrastinate and delay taking the necessary steps. Making an appointment with a professional holds us accountable and ensures that we follow through on getting our estate plan in order. While lawyers may attempt to draft their own wills or estate plans, their emotional involvement and potential blind spots can lead to important details being missed. By having a team of trusted advisors, Lawyers and individuals can make informed decisions, preserve their wealth, and facilitate effective communication within the family to avoid future conflicts.  

It’s crucial to turn your mind to all types of assets you have and make arrangements for their management in case of incapacity or passing away. This includes organizing and updating statements, portfolios, and information related to your legal practice if applicable. 


What else should lawyers be thinking about when planning for their assets? 

 As lawyers, you need to ensure that your important documents, such as wills and estate plans, are easily accessible to trusted individuals. Knowing where these documents are located and providing access to passwords and login information is essential. Otherwise, it can create significant challenges for your executor or loved ones who have to navigate through the process of settling your affairs. 


What advice can you give lawyers who are willing to take the next step? 

 Just get it started if you haven’t already and make sure that you keep it up to date. One of the things that is really needed and gets ignored is the need for the powers of attorneys and sometimes it’s even more so than the wills especially in our profession. It’s really important because if we are the workers and whatever else, and we become incapable or we’re stuck outside of the country or whatever happens, those powers of attorneys are really, really important. 


We cannot over emphasize the need to have a team of professionals, that can push you to take action and make estate planning a priority, Reach out to our team today at for a 30-min free strategy session. You can also have access to our vetted lawyers list for a list of professionals to help you get your estate plan started. Through our relationship with Lawyer’s Financial, you also have access to free financial planning! Lawyers don’t delay in taking this important step to get your finances in order. Contact Jody for more details! 

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