Monday, August 31, 2015
Death is always difficult to deal with and the burden grows stronger when it is a person with a strong personal connection. However, the planner must keep a clear head due to the responsibility that is placed on their shoulder and should keep the following in mind:
- Contact the other advisers the client might have such as a tax planner, accountant, and attorney. Coordination between everyone will allow the client to have all information at hand which will ease the grieving process and help protect the client's interest.
- Ensure that the basis in any property is stepped up or down to the fair market value. Depending on circumstances, valuation will be based on the date of death or an alternate valuation date.
- Evaluate any inheritance for items that need to be disclaimed. The reason for doing this are many ranging from decreasing a tax burden, desire for the next person in line to inherit, or because the property is valueless or difficult to administer.
- Make sure assets that are to be divided are split fairly with an eye towards their ultimate use by the heir. For example, giving a volatile asset to someone near retirement when a stable but low growth one was available might not be advisable.
See Lindsay Garland, 4 Steps for Moving Forward After a Client's Death, Financial Planning, August 26, 2015.
Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse for bringing this article to my attention.