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October 30, 2018

Estate Planning

Estate planning is one of those topics that most people do not like to discuss.

That's unfortunate because you work so hard to build your assets and it is ashamed to let the government and attorneys have more, and your heirs less. Estate planning can be done at either of two times, before you die or after you die. If it is done during your lifetime, your family or heirs receive the benefit of your thoughts, knowledge, experience, and business ability.

The cost is a few hours and a nominal (in the scope of things) legal fee. If your planning is done after your death, your family is left to do the best they can, at a very difficult time for them, without the benefit of your advice. The results may be:
 
  • A plan that may not carry out your wishes.
 
  • Mental anguish and frustration for your family.
 
  • Sizable legal and accounting fees.
 
  • Delays of a few months to many years.
 
  • Costs of thousands, tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Let's look at a few wealthy, well-meaning people who chose not to plan.

Erle Stanley Gardner (1889 - 1970) - Author, creator of "Perry Mason"
Gross Estate $ 1,795,000
Total Settlement Costs $ 636,000
Net Estate $ 1,159,000
Percent Shrinkage: 35%

Marilyn Monroe (1926 - 1962)
Gross Estate $ 819,000
Total Settlement Costs $ 448,000
Net Estate $ 371,000
Percent Shrinkage 55%

Elvis Presley (1935 - 1977)
Gross Estate $10,165,000
Total Settlement Costs $ 7,874,000
Net Estate $ 2,791,000
Percent Shrinkage 73%

John D. Rockefeller (1839 - 1937)
Gross Estate $26,905,000
Total Settlement Costs $17,124,000
Net Estate $ 9,781,000
Percent Shrinkage 64%

*Information based on studies of the Estate Research Institute.

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