Estate Planning Red Flags and How to Avoid Them!

Did you know…that 70% of wealth is lost from one generation to the next, and 90% is lost with the following generation.

After being a financial advisor for over a decade we have heard our fair share of estate planning failures. I remember a client telling me that at her father’s funeral, her sister in law asked for a check from the estate account. She needed money for tuition! Another client explained that her parent’s estate of $5 million dwindled down to $500,000 after years of attorneys battling out who gets what. Her sister said to the parent’s estate attorney, well dad wanted me to get everything. Then every sibling had to lawyer up and fight over the estate plans. 

  1. Outdated estate plan or no plan!
  2. Lack of communication between generations!
  3. Not having a team in place to execute the estate plan!

To address the first red flag: here is a checklist of when you should prepare and review your estate plan:

  • Whenever there is a new addition to the family: child, grandchild, new in-laws, etc.
  • Buying a house,
  • Inheriting money,
  • Getting married, living with a significant other, or getting divorced, 
  • If you have moved to a new state,
  • Loss of a loved one,
  • Child leaves for college or turns 18,
  • Creation or sale of a business,
  • If your power of attorney is older than 2 years,
  • If there are any tax or estate law changes: for this one, we stay informed so you don’t have to!

When there is a passing of a loved one, grief is always at the forefront. When you look at grief, it is an isolating emotion, and everyone processes their grief differently. Some will dive into action mode to distract themselves from their emotions. Others will become paralyzed with so much sadness that they can’t make any decisions. But no matter what, there are decisions to be made, bills to be paid, and estate attorneys to be met with. Conflict will always arise when grief and money are combined, especially when expectations are not met. Leaving behind a plan to map out your estate is critical, but explaining this plan ahead of time will also help insure your family will be intact after the estate is settled. 

Your loved ones are desperately grasping for validation from you on your relationship with them. They need to understand why you left things a certain way. Maybe your brother has had a hard time, disabled or in a bad marriage, or just got laid off. Your parents might think they are doing the best thing by leaving him more money. But when you are grieving, it will feel like they loved him more. If you could explain why you left more money to one child or the family business to another child, they can process this before the grief hits. 

At the Women’s Wealth Boutique, we are consistently hosting family meetings to address long term care plans and estate plans across multiple generations. We are your advocate, we are your mediator, and we can help facilitate healthy conversations around grief, money, and expenses. By utilizing our team of estate experts and proactively building a plan, you can embrace these conversations with your family instead of being stressed by it all. 

We can help you avoid all of these red flags with our new Estate Planning Division at the Women’s Wealth Boutique. We are thrilled to offer in house estate documents such as wills, power of attorneys, living wills, and trusts. 

After working over a decade with estate attorneys building client’s estate plans, I saw 2 huge flaws: 

1. The price was too high for most couples to be able to afford as they are building growing families, 

and 

2. It took too long to complete the estate documents so they never got done. This leaves families vulnerable and unprotected.

Now we are partnering with an attorney platform to be able to execute our clients estate needs within 2 weeks and saving our clients thousands of dollars in fees.

We are then able to execute their estate wishes with their other assets from retirement plans, annuities, life insurance, etc.

Estate planning has never been so efficient, cost effective, and comprehensive for our clients!