Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Friday, April 19, 2019

Cascading Fortunes Require Careful Counsel

WilltestamentThough trillions of dollars are expected to pass down through to the next generations, many individuals such as Prince and Aretha Franklin are not seeking competent counsel to assist in efficient estate planning. Writing a will is a clear help in ensuring the smooth transfer of people’s wealth to their heirs, but six in 10 Americans do not have one, according to the Princeton Survey Research Associates International.

The culprit could be that until death is staring into a person's eyes, that person has no urgency to circumvent the final consequences of it. “Since people don’t think they’re going to die this week, they put it off to the next year and then the next,” says Christopher Cooke, the Indianapolis-based partner at Cooke Financial Group, which is part of Sanctuary Wealth Partners. Preparation of trusts, powers of attorney and health proxies are also important considerations for many clients in planning for old age and mortality.

Chief executive Kim Luu-Tu of Generations Wealth Management, part of Ameriprise Financial, say that by asking more probing questions about a client’s aims in passing on their fortunes and the circumstances of any heirs, she aims “to make sure advice is coordinated” with the other estate planning professionals. It also is important to ask as a bridge between the generations.“It’s crucial to include the children so that they also understand the wishes of their parents and the duties that they might inherit together with the wealth,” says Mr Cooke.

Stavis & Cohen Financial, part of the Advisor Group, provides online material to clients’ children on topics such as budgeting, individual retirement accounts and trusts.

See Rita Raagas De Ramos, Cascading Fortunes Require Careful Counsel, Financial Times, April 17, 2019.

Special thanks to Joel C. Dobris (Professor of Law, UC Davis School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.


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