All investors work to accumulate assets. When you are no longer able to take care of your affairs, who will? If you have an Estate Plan, it can eliminate the guess work and make the settlement of your assets a simple matter. A well executed plan can prevent the end of your life from being horrible mess.
Thinking about the world without you in it is something that most people would rather not invest too much time in. It is a morbid thought that reminds us that our time here is finite. Regardless, the end is unavoidable.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Bill Sefton, CPA. His practice focuses on working with high net worth individuals who want an estate plan.
3 Easy Steps to Establish Your Estate Plan
- WHO: Determine who you want to handle your affairs when you are no longer able.
- WHAT: Identify the assets in your estate; bank accounts, IRA’s, property, etc.
- HOW: Decide how do you want your assets distributed.
Spend some time and declare who you want to administer your estate when you are no longer able. It does not have to be complicated. The time spent preparing, will keep your family from having to deal with a messy and time consuming situation when they may not be emotionally able.
A living trust, unlike an irrevocable trust, can be adjusted and changed fairly easily.
Theory vs Reality
Too often, good intentions go to heck when money is involved. A client of mine worked through a messy estate settlement for three years.
The family consisted of a father, mother, son(my client) and daughter. The father passed away years ago. Upon the mothers death, the expectations were that the assets of the mother to be divided equally between the son and daughter.
The family business developed, owned and managed apartment buildings. The son worked in the family business his entire adult life. The daughter never worked in the family business.
In addition to working in the family business, the son, purchased multiple properties through the years, that were held outside of the family business. He managed both the family properties and his own keeping separate books for each.
Upon the mothers death, the daughter, felt that she was due more than what she was offered. So, she hired attorneys to challenge the settlement. For three years, the mother’s estate was examined and reexamined by attorneys and accountants. The end result was a legal bill exceeding $600,000. The fees reduced the estate and settlement available to both the son and daughter.
The end does not have to go this way.
For more information go to:
William Lee Sefton, CPA