“You’re my executor.”
Over the years, many trusted family members and friends have heard these words. It’s one of the first steps when securing an estate plan, and also one of the most important. Having a competent executor, (or trustee) after all, helps to manage your clients’ affairs and wishes according to their directions.
But just saying, “You’re my executor” doesn’t get it done. It can’t just be granted verbally. Instead, it needs to be in writing – or else it doesn’t carry any weight at all.
Here’s why it’s so important:
As we’ve mentioned in our past article regarding Prince’s post-mortem woes, estate planning isn’t fun. It’s easier to just ignore it entirely. That’s what he did, and when he passed away-unexpectedly-there was no will, and no executor to help carry out his wishes. Just a lengthy legal battle that’s still going on.
Many Americans make the same mistake. Even if they did tell a loved one that they were the executor, if it’s not on paper, that person might still end up being the one to fulfill the duty – but quite possibly not. By itself, “You’re my executor” means nothing.
Another byproduct of doing nothing is expense. Almost always, doing nothing ends up being much more costly than doing something. In the case of Aretha or Prince that cost in dollars will be in the tens of millions. On the other end of the spectrum, there are people like Sylvia’s mother.
Sylvia was told by her mother, “You’re my executor.” After Mom’s death a thorough search couldn’t find those words written down anywhere. The resulting court proceedings ended up costing over $22,000 and almost two years before Mom’s modest estate could be distributed.
Most all of that could have been avoided if Mom had done something rather than nothing.
The other, more lasting, expense was the emotional cost in depression, frustration, and hurt feelings. Sylvia no longer has a relationship with her sister and brother-in-law.
Helping clients avoid Prince’s mistake is a major step forward. Get it down on paper, knowing their beneficiaries will be avoiding at least one estate nightmare.
An independent review of their existing insurance policies also provides additional peace of mind. Here’s an article on its benefits, and why many great advisors have this done for their clients on a routine basis.
The result is a stronger relationship with your client and less waste; less time wasted, less dollars expended on the process and fewer damaged relationships afterward. What more could you ask for?
At Stratus Financial Partners, we partner with financial advisors, attorneys, and CPAs to best serve their clients. Our team is dedicated to making the world a better place, one policy at a time.
The insurance world can be difficult to navigate. Without a clear understanding of their current plan, it’s difficult to be certain that your clients have the right coverage. If you’d like to take a closer look, you’ve come to the right place. We can answer your life insurance questions and provide the clarity you need to sleep easy. To learn more about our services, visit our site or join our newsletter today. To contact us, click here.