Have you ever heard of the SMART goal-setting technique? In the context of estate planning, the acronym, SMART, can empower you to set wise and realistic goals. It stands for:
- Relevant or realistic
The SMART method is used frequently in the business environment, but it works with other goal-setting activities. With this method, you can determine what is most important in creating your estate plan and then implement steps to attain your goals.
Smart vs. SMART
Essentially, the SMART strategy encourages you to identify what you really want your estate plan to accomplish. Instead of generalities, you will use specifics in your documentation. Instead of hoping your goals are achievable, you will consider them carefully and change them (your goals) if unattainable.
A few examples may help you understand the SMART technique better.
- Smart: Including your favorite charities in your estate plan.
- SMART: Designating a specific amount or percentage to your charities.
- Smart: Helping your descendants succeed in life.
- SMART: Leaving assets solely to improve your loved ones’ lives (to get a college education, start a business, etc.).
- Smart: Considering ways to eliminate probate.
- SMART: Using well-drafted tools like trusts to keep most of your assets out of probate.
- Smart: Learning about general estate planning laws.
- SMART: Studying specific document laws (wills, trusts, powers of attorney, etc.) in Virginia or your geographic location.
- Smart: Discovering what responsibilities your estate executors will have.
- SMART: Speaking with your candidates to ensure they are able and willing to fill the role you ask of them.
When used under knowledgeable legal guidance, the SMART method helps you outline your objectives and implement tools to attain them.