Estate Planning Law Report: September 2014
Estate Planning For Dummies?

You know about the “…For Dummies” series of books, right? Is there an “Estate Planning For Dummies” book? If there is, it would be impossible for it to go into a lot of detail. That’s where the tricky parts are, in the details.

Getting the details right is important when it comes to something like planning your estate. Remember the old schoolyard taunt: close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.

(Boy, that one would go over like a lead balloon in the schoolyard today, wouldn’t it? Has any school kid today ever even heard of throwing horseshoes?)

What kinds of details are important when planning your estate? Perhaps the most important is dealing with the possibility of unforeseen events. I’m always asking (as those of you who have been through this process with me know): “What if…?” “What if your financial situation changes?” “What if [the person you want to give decision making responsibility] isn’t able to fulfill that role?” “What if [fill in the blank] happens?”

NB Hannah

Nathan B. Hannah, attorney

And when you need to get the details right, there is nothing like, well, attention to detail. Being meticulous. Taking it slow and steady.

But sometimes it is hard to take it slow and steady. Sometimes things have to be done in a hurry. Sometimes, even without deadlines, the pressure to get things done undermines attention to detail.

Paying attention to the details is my job, but I couldn’t do it without help. The people who work with me are just as concerned about the details as I am. And they are good at what they do.

We don’t always get it perfect. When something does need to be rectified, we do our best to do it quickly and with as little inconvenience as possible. Then we redouble our efforts to get it perfect the next time.

Why am I telling you all this? Two reasons: First, to warn you to proceed with caution if someone tells you that planning your estate isn’t complicated, that a “For Dummies” book, or something like it, is all you need. Second, to let you know that we do our best to get the details right, so that when we are done, you don’t have to worry about them.

Finally, I mean it when I say that it’s also my job to make planning your estate understandable. And I mean it when I say, as I have to all of you who have been through this process with me, if there is something about planning your estate that you don’t understand, ask me.

Next month, I will tell you how to get ready for a meeting with your lawyer to prepare, or update, your estate plan.


Mark Twain Quote


Nathan B. Hannah is a Shareholder in the Tucson office, and practices in the areas of estate planning and administration, real estate, and commercial transactions.  He is also a noted blogger, and you can find more of his articles on his private blog,

Contact Attorney Hannah:  or  520/ 322-5000