The key to understanding estate planning is dealing with a simple observation. “When you are dead, you won’t know. It’s difficult only for the others.”
I have devised a test so that a dead person may discover that they have passed on. There are several questions. Answer each either Yes or No.
You are undoubtedly dead if you have answered “Yes” to more than six questions. If fewer than three, you are probably alive.
Even-numbered questions are the ones where you can do something before you’re gone.
Unless you are confident they don’t apply, give them some thought while you can. The problems arise from situations where no steps were taken to prevent them. More conflict, more negotiation, more work for lawyers. Who runs the business without you? Do you know what your tax situation would be? You should. Heir conflicts arise when two people want the same thing. It is often not an especially valuable thing.
Unless you provide the necessary tools, your executor cannot efficiently solve any of them.
Resolving in advance.
A twelfth even-numbered question you might ask yourself is, “Would my executors prefer not to be involved?” I know people who have executors who neither want to act nor could do the minimum necessary. Sometimes there will be too many, or too difficult problems for casual help.
A simple solution. Consider a corporate executor. They have the skills to do what is needed or know where to get them. In very complex situations, they will turn out less expensive. Always recall the adage cheap is expensive.
A good estate plan addresses problems in advance and provides:
You have worked hard to have the income and assets to deal with what you need and leave something for the next generation. Now is not the time to become careless. Most estate problems have solutions, but you need to start early to avoid them.
Problems and opportunities you can anticipate are halfway solved.
An estate and income model can help identify both problems and opportunities.
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I build strategy and fact-based estate and income plans. The plans identify alternate ways and alternate timing to achieve both spending and estate distribution goals. In the past I have been a planner with a large insurance, employee benefits, and investment agency, a partner in a large international public accounting firm, CEO of a software start-up, a partner in an energy management system importer, and briefly in the restaurant business. I have appeared on more than 100 television shows on financial planning, have presented to organizations as varied as the Canadian Bar Association, The Ontario Institute of Chartered Accountants, The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food, Banks – from CIBC to the Business Development Bank.
Be in touch at 705-927-4770 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org