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After I pass, will my family continue to get together for Thanksgiving?

After I pass, will my family continue to get together for Thanksgiving?

February 22, 2023

After I pass, will my family continue to get together for Thanksgiving?

That depends on if I make any of these estate planning mistakes.

We all know passing away without a Will is the absolute worst legacy planning. Here are some tips to avoid sibling wrath and eternal wars.


Receiving The Whole Piggy Bank

Everyone has heard of the lottery ticket winner that is flat broke after several years. Some of us have relatives that depleted a large inheritance in under 2 years. To avoid this, a trust can be deployed (I still use military jargon) and structured with payments at certain milestones. Creditors and crazy ex’s can be mitigated through the asset protection of a trust. I was really relieved when I learned that trusts for the average family are not that complicated. I think of a trust like shrink wrap, which protects valuable boxes when they are moved from the warehouse to the retail store.


Lost Digital Assets

Cryptocurrency and digital assets right now are on fire. The assets may vanish forever without the password or access. In the digital world, there’s no point of contact to submit a death certificate and merely change the account owner. The digital assets may need to be unlocked before being transferred to the next-of-kin. Digital wallets and storage devices should be clearly labeled to avoid being accidentally lost in a landfill. Updated passwords and keys should be easily discoverable.


Procrastination

To me, this is one of those human traits that seems like a daily war. While there’s no guarantee of living tomorrow, there is a guarantee of massive pain to my loved ones as they navigate the probate system.


Outdated Instructions Or No Updates

This is an absolute landmine for blended families. Blended and large families need extra help in ensuring the vision is then mirrored in the written documents. Written documents generally prevail over hearsay and private conversations. Failing to update my documents may mean I accidentally leave a chunk to that snotty step-person I can barely tolerate.


To Specific & Inflexible

If I have a $1 trillion dollar estate (no estate taxes in this calculation), I elect to leave $900 million dollars to an awesome charity and the rest to my loving family. The market value at my passing is $900,000,005.00 due to an economic downturn. Essentially, I just left my wife and kids a mere $5 dollars! I’ll be lucky to even get a headstone at that point. A better solution is percentages. A charity gets 80% and my family gets 20% of the assets. In addition, if my son only gets an inheritance when he graduates from MIT with a PhD in molecular time travel, then UMASS or Texas A&M would probably be a bad idea.

 

Thanksgiving dinners can continue to be multi-generational with the guidance of a legal team that specializes in estate planning, and I won’t forget to leave the best spicy recipes in writing!