Why Most Estate Plans Don’t Work

The Probate Courts are full of estate plans gone wrong. People failing to leave a will, or failing to safeguard it. People inadvertently or recklessly starting fights that tear the family apart. Business owners trying desperately to keep their partner’s widow out of the business. Widows who want to be paid the fair value of a business, not the amount put on a schedule years ago when the business was worth much less.

Sometimes the problem is that people are just too busy, or a too disorganized, but usually the problem involves ignorance. Or worse, people “know” things that are true. They believe that having a will, or a trust, or a buy sell agreement is enough, so they don’t do the other things required for the plan to work.


  • They don’t know the plans have to be funded. Often no one ever told him what funding is, much less how important it is.
  • They don’t know that simply listing all three kids on an insurance policy doesn’t mean that they will all inherit equally.
  • They don’t understand that failing to file the right document at the right time in the Probate Court can mean that the creditors, not the family, are in charge of the estate.
  • They don’t understand that is the law changes, and as the family situation changes, the documents have to change too.

The basic problem of estate planning is that it is done by human beings for human beings, and is carried out by human beings. All of the documents in the world cannot solve the human problems. When things go wrong it can usually be traced back to certain recurring human failures that I call the Root Causes of DIS-functional Planning. Avoiding the human problems requires more than better documents — it requires a new approach.

LEARN MORE about the Root Causes of DIS-functional Planning

LEARN MORE about steps to create a plan that works