estate planning


I think it’s time we have The Talk. Don’t you? You know, the one about the Legacy you wish to leave. It’s a subject that deserves serious thought.

Leaving a Legacy is how you achieve Greatness. It goes right to the core of why you’re here and the mark you wish to make on the world you leave behind.

Some of you know exactly what it is. Mine, of course, is that there are a lot more financially empowered women running this country as a result of my work. And a lot fewer abused women who can’t afford to leave their abuser.

But many of you may be scratching your heads, wondering, ‘huh, what’s mine?’

Your legacy doesn’t need to light up the sky. It could be the tiniest footprint in the sand. All that matters: your legacy reflects your purpose fulfilled.

Need help? Try this exercise.

Imagine that it’s far in the future. You are lying on your deathbed. You’ve lead a long and meaningful life, but it’s now drawing to a close. As you lie there, you begin to review your past. What gave you the most satisfaction, outside of your family, to know this is what you’ll be remembered for? It need not be limited to one thing, either.

Once you pinpoint what it is, come back to this moment. Then ask yourself: What can I do right now that will contribute to the legacy I wish to leave?

Please share below by leaving a comment…I can’t wait to hear your insights.

Advertisements

As I mentioned in my Part-1 blog  on this difficult topic several days ago; I had heard from a woman whose husband was just diagnosed with terminal cancer.  Her question to me: “What should a woman do before her husband dies”?

Her question caused me to recall the agony my mother and I went through when my father became ill, forcing us to make difficult decisions and plans at an already difficult time.

In Part-1, I outlined steps 1 through 3.  Here I’ll finish the series, with steps 4 through 6:

4.       We envisioned a future without Dad.  My mom started thinking about living single: how much money she’d need to live on (a lot…  she wasn’t going to work nor did she have to, but she did like to spend), how she wanted her money invested (very conservatively), and who would assist her with this.  The whole family helped her find an investment advisor (we interviewed 3).  She also hired a CPA – after a while, it became clear he wasn’t a good fit, so she recently hired someone else.  She meets with her “team” on a regular basis to this day.

5.       We had  regular family meetings. These meetings, though often emotional, were absolutely wonderful in getting everyone on the same page while Dad was still alive.  Meetings included my sisters, spouses, and all the grandchildren (we eventually had great grandkids crawling around too).  My Dad let everyone know what his wishes were, especially for philanthropy, and enrolled the whole family to the board of his foundation.  These meetings drew us closer in many ways.

6.       Mom talked to friends.   She’d had several friends who lost their husband’s, so she talked to them at length. They gave her great advice which really helped her see life goes on, happily so.

Having done these things, by the time my father died, all my mother had to do was grieve.  Every detail was in order.  There were no surprises.  All papers signed.  All major decisions made.  Her team was in place.  Practically speaking, his passing was seamless.

Barbara Stanny

The leading authority on women & money
barbara@barbarastanny.com
www.barbarastanny.com

Sign up for Barbara’s free newsletter at

http://barbarastanny.com/inner-circle-join.html

Twitter Barbara at: http://twitter.com/barbarastanny

I heard from a woman whose husband was just diagnosed with terminal cancer.  Her question to me:  What should a woman do before her husband dies?

My heart went out to her,  along with my admiration.  Instead of going into denial, she went into action.  Death is not easy to talk about,  let alone prepare for.  What would you do in her situation?  After all,  most women will face a similar dilemma at some point.

I’ll never forget,  when my father got ill,  I went to  my mother.  “Do you know what Daddy has planned for you when he dies?” I asked.

“Oh yes,” she replied quickly, but when I pressed her for details, she couldn’t tell me.  She also made it abundantly clear:  this was not a conversation she wanted to have.  I made it even clearer:  avoidance was not an option.  Here’s what we did:

1.       We had “the talk.” I had my Mom sit down with my Dad and we looked at all the financial documents:  bank statements, investments, estate planning, etc.  This was not, by any means, an easy conversation.  Dealing with death is emotionally excruciating, at least it was for us.  Nerves were frayed.  My Mom glazed over.  My Dad lost patience.  I kept scratching my wrist (a nervous habit) until it bled.  But by the end,  my Mom knew where every penny was and what arrangements he had made… and hadn’t made.

2.       We assembled “ the team.” My Dad was very much a do-it-yourselfer.   I wanted my Mom to have her own team of professionals to support and guide her (during and after).  First on our list was to hire an estate lawyer… we found one (through my sister).  Mom, my sisters and I met with him first, brought in my father, and together my parents created a very good, tax efficient estate plan… which my Mom not only understood, but had a big  role in creating.

3.       We updated documents.  We made sure the Will, Power of Attorney, EVERYTHING reflected their latest info and current wishes.

As I said, not an easy process.  Sadly, many of us will go through this.  But being prepared, financially, will make it a little easier.

In my next post, I’ll list the final 3 steps you need to take, to prepare yourself.  Stay tuned.

Barbara Stanny

The leading authority on women & money
barbara@barbarastanny.com
www.barbarastanny.com

Sign up for Barbara’s free newsletter at

http://barbarastanny.com/inner-circle-join.html

Twitter Barbara at: http://twitter.com/barbarastanny