It’s the little things…

I have been an attorney for over 21 years and I have seen my share of families grieving after they lose a loved one.  Death is never expected, even for those who are terminally ill.  What compounds the problem is that the family left behind now is tasked with wrapping up the affairs of their loved one, all during a time they are grieving.

Did you know that on average over 100 tasks need to be completed after someone passes such as finding and closing bank accounts, credit cards, claiming life insurance benefits, pensions, social security and much more?  The look of complete exhaustion and the overwhelmed faces of the family at trying to do this all while living their lives is unforgettable.  This then crosses over to work.  A person does not check their grief at the door of their job at 9 in the morning and then pick it back up when they leave at 5.  And in today’s society, most families live in different states and cities which means frequent travel will be required to tend to the affairs.

And don’t be fooled into thinking that because you have a will that all is good. That is just the start.  It typically addresses only the high line items and assets in a person’s life.  What we have seen over and over are families ripped apart by the “little things”.  Epic arguments and ruined relationships occur over over pots and pans, shoes, clothes, mementos, pictures, etc.  But this can all be handled and prepared for with a minimal amount of time and thought by using solutions like DocuVital.

Helping your employees prepare for both the “big things” and the “little things” are key to making a smooth transition when they lose a loved one.   Assisting them during the ultimate time of loss and grief will be one of the greatest benefits you could ever provide them.

Life Happens Fast. Be Prepared.

By now many of you have heard and read about Prince’s tragic death.  To many of us he defined our youth and his albums were the soundtrack to our lives. What has compounded his passing was the fact that he was not prepared.  Like many Americans(over 50%), he died without a will and without making plans for his family.

Prince was famously known for guarding his privacy.  This was very important to him but now that he is gone, his life is being needlessly dragged out in the public eye and the courts.  “Prince’s relatives, employees and friends, even his ex-wives, apparently knew less about the 57-year-old star’s habits than they thought. And because Prince failed to leave a will, the probate proceeding is even more complicated — and non-transparent — than usual.”  There is much talk about the worth of his musical legacy which has surged in value since his death.  But who are his heirs?  Where are the “secret tapes” located?

In my experience as an attorney for over 20 years I have seen families ripped apart by the smallest things that a will does not usually address.  For example; baseball card collections, clothes, pots and pans! Fortunately, these issues can be easily addressed now.  Being prepared now will greatly reduce the stress and headache for your family later.

We all wanted to be Prince at one time, but don’t be like him now.  Life Happens Fast.  Be Prepared.

Does wealth transfer scare you as a financial services professional?

Anyone working in the financial services industry right now has been aware of or is quickly learning about the aging baby boomer population. Whether they work for a bank, insurance company, financial planning firm, or related entity, there is a tsunami waiting offshore that is heading in their direction. Already struggling to attract clients and differentiate themselves, they now face the greatest wealth transfer in human history as baby boomers get older and die. According to the Center on Wealth and Philanthropy at Boston College, $59 Trillion will be transferred from baby boomers to their heirs over the next 40 years.

What does this mean for the financial services industry if they are not prepared and not taking measures to reduce this effect? Disaster. The baby boomers acquired significant amounts of wealth and have used their trusted advisors to manage their wealth and protect it. Many have long lasting relationships that have endured for years and acted like an annuity for the professionals in this industry. But, the adult children who will inherit the money and accounts in most cases have no relationship with the bank or financial institution of their parents. This means accounts that have been stable parts of your business will now be vulnerable.

In order to prevent this from happening, financial institutions must be forward thinking and one way is to embrace the Fintech revolution. Rather than looking at Fintech startups as disruptive technology, look for startups that can complement your business. How are you driving customer engagement? How are you making yourself relevant to the family members? How will you retain them as clients? How will you provide meaningful content and services to them?

In other words, what steps have you taken to survive the greatest wealth transfer in human history?