Knock Out Family Feuds with Better Financial Planning

auto-loans-e1396039969589There’s a bit of irony that Muhammad Ali—pugilist, humorist, humanitarian and of course, “the greatest of all time” would be at the center at what seems to be another fight. This one, of course, is the battle for his fortune after his death. And lest we forget, pop megastar Prince whose sudden death has also spurred an ugly family feud.
It would seem in my vast wisdom that even the best-laid plans of mice, men (and even smart green pigs) can often go astray.

So how do you best minimize the risks of a family feud when you’re planning for your family’s financial wellbeing? Some experts (including myself) say a will alone is insufficient when it comes to estate planning.

Here’s what I suggest to best prevent family fights and preserve harmony:
1. Don’t use a Will. Why? Wills have shortcomings. Instead, think of a will as only a guide. No one knows your family and their different personalities better than you do. So consider individual reactions to avoid future petty fighting. This may mean using revocable trusts.
2. Enact a revocable trust alternative. This is a less-complex method of estate planning. When you die, the trust doesn’t die with you. Instead, you appoint a trustee to oversee the trust. That person decides who gets what. And the best part is you can’t go to court over a trust.
3. Create a living will and healthcare proxy. In the unfortunate event, you become unable to speak for yourself before you die. Consider a living will that also appoints an advocate to make healthcare decisions for you. In some states, just because you’re married doesn’t mean your wife or husband can speak on your behalf. So plan ahead.
4. Speak to a financial planner. Be sure to thoroughly explain your wishes and desires for the best outcome. A financial planner can make a smart plan that gets the process started but also takes into consideration what I have already discussed.

That’s that for now. I’ll leave you with a quote to mull over from Muhammad Ali: “Don’t count the days; make the days count.”

About the Author ()

Melvin is the Smart Green Pig. "Smart" as in intelligent. Some would say "Super Intelligent" or perhaps "Genius". But also "Smart" as in surly and sarcastic, so watch your Ps and Qs! By the way, Melvin gets paid (quite handsomely) by SECU, so even though he's completely unbiased, some might think otherwise. Just sayin' (disclosin').

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