Welcome back. In the first, introductory, edition of this blog I outlined the basic premise of our delivery to the ONE Sports and Entertainment client philosophy. I also introduced you to the two books written by Chris Moynes that serve as the blueprint for that philosophy. Within the book, The Pro’s Process, we outline something we all “the Playbook”; various components that lead our clients to financial health; however, they define that in their own situation. In this space, I plan to explore something that is getting a lot of publicity these days, especially in the world of public people and celebrities who have passed away. From Prince to … there are examples more frequently of how NOT to plan for one’s exit from this life. It is true that less than 50% of people in North America have adequately planned their Estate; but why is that the case … or rather, what are the compelling reasons to finally address this question and put pen to paper. If you wish to retain some control over how the assets you have worked so hard to accumulate are distributed upon your death, a formal Will document will help you achieve that. Additionally, naming a guardian in your Will gives you the opportunity to protect your children and heirs in the way you want to; giving peace of mind knowing they will be ok once you are gone. Another strong reason for a formally drafted, thought out Will document is that any potential misunderstandings or arguments between family members or potential beneficiaries are likely to be avoided. These are but a few of the points we cover with our clients when discussing this important aspect of their overall financial health; and if you have been putting off the Will planning decision, perhaps this can be the “nudge” to get you started in the right direction.
One interesting question that has been asked of me more than once concerns the treatment of the family pet once you are gone; who will feed them, shelter them, make sure they live on after you are gone. Many pets have become extensions of the family, and the thought of something happening, or not happening, to their cherished pet can be a cause of distress. It is true that some parents show or post more videos or photos of their pets than their own children; and any true pet owner likely knows that spending money on Rover or Fifi has exploded over recent years. Legally, in most jurisdictions, pets are considered tangible personal property, in much the same way as your car or household possessions. We are starting to see some changes in direction in that respect, especially if you look at some recent divorce proceedings where pet custody is becoming a more frequent consideration. So, what to do next. Well, to begin with, it makes sense to choose someone who will care for your pet should something happen to you. Discuss this choice with that person; make sure they are willing to take on this responsibility and that he or she shares your philosophy about pets and caring for animals as do you. Next, put it all in writing; whether that be in a Will, a separate special letter or memorandum filed with someone you trust to be read once you pass away, or in a special Pet Trust, which are becoming increasingly popular.
The most important thing is that you chose a plan and then put it into place. As always, we can help you with this and many other aspects of your Estate planning. Let us know about your special pet; share a particular story with us or tell us why they are so special to you and why you want to make sure they are taken care of after you are gone.