Estate planning is a large part of preparing for your financial future and legacy.
But, in truth, it’s complicated, and if you don’t work with professionals you may miss a small detail that has big implications later on for yourself or your family.
Take this story, for example, which illustrates how leaving your family an inheritance can quickly turn into a more difficult situation.
Several years ago, Roger called me because he and Nancy were worried about Nancy’s father. He was in his early eighties and in poor health.
The elderly man had very little money and Roger and Nancy didn’t want the man’s healthcare expenses becoming a liability for them, jeopardizing their own retirement.
I assured Roger that their assets would not be at risk but suggested we meet to get a handle on all the details and facts concerning Nancy’s father. We agreed to meet two weeks later but Roger called a few days later to say that his father-in-law had passed away.
Roger and Nancy finally came in to see me about two weeks after the funeral. As we began talking, I learned that Roger and Nancy were both sad and glad.
Obviously, they were sad at the passing of Nancy’s father but they were pleasantly surprised to learn that Nancy’s father had left her over $1.5 million dollars.
Nancy had always thought her father was in a tight financial situation. He always talked about having to pinch pennies and using old bread wrappers for garbage can liners, etc.
Nancy, an only child, was astonished that her father had so much money but she was also sad that he never really enjoyed any of it for himself.
As the couple began the process of settling her father’s estate, they found that he had set up a revocable living trust.
Unfortunately, his entire estate still had to go through probate since he never got around to re-titling any of his assets into the name of his revocable trust, essentially rendering it worthless.
For more information on estate planning and planning for your Incredible Retirement, pick up a copy of my book, Worry Free Retirement.