Tansey Estate Planning

Protecting You and Your Loved Ones

How Photography Enhances My Estate Planning

Recently, I have been posting or communication often about my photography activities. Although I am proud of my photographic accomplishments, I am not abandoning my estate planning practice. This would be true even if I could make a living solely based upon my photography. Estate planning and dealing with the effects of death and disability has been a passion of mine, since I was a young boy. In many ways an estate-planning career chose me rather than I chose to be an estate planner. My dad was killed in an accident before I turned seven. That event is seared into my consciousness that experience is a part of my fundamental personality.

In recent years, the need for estate and gift tax planning has decreased dramatically. Over 95% of individuals and couples do not need estate and gift tax planning with the more than $5 million exemption. However, the need for estate planning is still the same or even has increased with the higher exemptions. Every person or couple needs to answer the questions presented in the Four Stages of Estate Planning.

Here is where the disciplines of photography and estate planning merge. In both disciplines, one must be in the moment, so one either can take a fabulous photograph or create an estate plan that reflects the client’s desires. As each photographic opportunity presents unique challenges, each estate plan needs to reflect the client’s goals and values. Just as photography requires one to eliminate distractions to a great image, estate planning requires one to listen what is not said. Sometimes what is not said (which could mask a disagreement between a couple about important distribution issue how distribute property to a child) needs to be brought out in the open, so the estate plan can reflect both party’s desires.

Next, both one’s photography and estate planning can improve with age and experience. Photography, like most arts, is not only for the prodigy. (See Malcolm Gladwell’s article on Late Bloomers in the New Yorker). One definitely improves as an estate planner with both experiences as an estate planner and life experience. As an estate planner, not only do I have experience as an estate-planning attorney, but I also have experience from the life insurance and financial planning perspective. More important, I have the life experience that makes me sensitive to the important estate planning issues: I lost a parent early in life, I worked in a family business, I grew up in a blended family, I have been married and have children ranging from the early thirties to thirteen, and I have been divorced and involved with my own blended family. With all of my experience, I believe that I can help clients solve their unique estate planning issues.