Private Client partner Jason Thein has been named a top estate planning attorney by St. Louis Small Business Monthly. The magazine featured him and seven other estate planning attorneys in the March 2017 issue, noting that these attorneys, who were nominated by readers, “have proven their dedication to the success of small businesses in St. Louis.”
Jason has served as a trusted legal advisor to multi-generational families and their businesses for more than two decades. He offered the following Q&A to St. Louis Small Business Monthly about the top challenges clients face when preparing estate plans, and what motivates him as an advisor to business leaders.
What are the biggest challenges you face when helping individuals with estate planning?
Finding ways to help clients carve out the time needed to address their estate plans (estate planning often is not a high priority for busy people) and helping them define and prioritize their often-competing goals.
What’s the No. 1 piece of advice you would provide those in the process of estate planning?
Don’t try to solve problems that are 40 years down the road. Focus on the next 5-10 years. It’s impossible to know the circumstances in 40 years, so it will be impossible to implement an effective plan that far in advance. The circumstances for the next 5-10 years are much more (albeit not completely) predictable. And, estate plans should be reviewed every 5-10 years anyway.
What’s the biggest mistake you’ve seen individuals make and what advice would you give to solve the problem?
The biggest mistake is actually two sides of the same coin. On the one side, people fail to plan because they devote too little time or cannot come to an agreement on certain issues (like naming guardians for their children). On the other side, people over-plan, especially for tax purposes, creating burdensome planning structures that are not properly utilized, thereby defeating the plan. The solution is to retain qualified counsel who is willing to take the time to truly understand the facts and circumstances and tailor a plan specifically for the client. (I.E., no cookie cutter plans).
Where does your motivation come in when it comes to helping individuals with his/her estate planning issues?
My motivation is the personal satisfaction of working with clients over the years and forming enduring relationships. It’s a true honor and joy to help them achieve their goals.
In the same issue of the magazine, partner Tom Litz, the chair of the firm’s Corporate Finance and Securities group, was named “a Best M&A Provider” in St. Louis.
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