“Without gauging risk factors at the outset of our plans, including the client’s willingness and ability to administer an estate plan, it’s impossible to advise a client whether to utilize one planning technique over another or to engage in any sophisticated planning at all. An equally critical issue is the impact of the planning on the estate administration.
Therefore, we should all consider creating and using a risk assessment checklist at the outset of each estate plan to help us determine which planning techniques, if any, to recommend and then monitor that checklist throughout the planning process.
There is no “one size fits all” approach, and too many of us are probably guilty from time to time of tying a particular planning technique to the client, instead of placing more emphasis on the client’s wishes and goals. Every client is unique and should be treated accordingly. After the planning is implemented, we should then review the checklist one final time and continue to monitor it on an annual basis.”