Estate Planning & Presidents

How can these two be connected? The easiest answer to that (which you may have missed) is that estate planning is for everyone. Regardless of how many assets you possess or the power that you have, you can still benefit from diligent and deliberate estate planning. If you were to run a basic search right now, you would see a long list of celebrities who have not done any estate planning. This is somewhat surprising, given the number of assets they have. Unfortunately, this extends to U.S. presidents too. 


George Washington Had a Plan 

We will point out that our first U.S. president had an excellent estate plan. There are many elements of his plan that we can learn from and apply to our own lives. To start, he was married. He knew that being an officer in the military, especially given the time period he lived in, put him at risk. Estate planning is a means to ensure your spouse is provided for when you pass away, and that is precisely what he did. 


Someone who remembers basic U.S. history may point out that George Washington didn’t have children and that families are more complicated now. Well, President Washington had four step-children from Martha’s previous marriage. However, George Washington treated his blended family like it was his own. Now would be an excellent time to highlight that your estate plan is built around specific circumstances such as these. Skilled attorneys craft a plan after they understand you and your wishes. George Washington’s plan centered around the three important elements of estate planning that are still relevant today.


  • Have your wishes put into a document.
  • Make sure that title is coordinated with that document.
  • Choose the document that pulls it all together.


Anyone who is still skeptical of us using George Washington as an example may point out that estate planning has evolved since. Did George Washington have a will for his assets that didn’t have titles? Sure, and he also had a trust! His trust was a part of his estate planning and fit into the overall purpose. 


Learning From Another Tale 

One of our most beloved presidents, the man who held the country together during the Civil War, had no estate planning. Additionally, he was a lawyer! He left behind a family, and his son had to get the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court to assist in carrying out Lincoln’s affairs because he hadn’t done any degree of planning. 


Why? It may be apparent from history and Lincoln’s writings that he thought he had more time. He was 56 at the time of his assassination, and he was still relatively young, even during that time period.  


Anything can happen to us at any time. Make sure you focus on estate planning and follow George Washington’s and Abraham Lincoln’s lessons. A will, for instance, is an important estate planning tool, but it is a piece of the whole. You need to title your assets in coordination with these documents, and a trust will allow you to do that. 


Begin planning and preparing now by contacting J. Kevin Tharpe, P.C., to schedule your initial consultation. 

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Kevin Tharpe

With 25 years of experience, Kevin understands how estate planning, special needs planning, and government benefits programs work together. This is a crucial element of a thorough plan. He explains your eligibility for benefits programs and ensures that you do not make costly mistakes that may disqualify you or deplete your assets.

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