I think one of the biggest problems getting back to something I just said a few minutes ago is this word estate. When you say estate planning I think people think of the word estate and frankly I think it’s a dumb word. It conjures up the wrong image.
So for example people imagine like a mansion on the hill or they think they have to be playing polo with their friends on the weekends. When they think of the term estate they think it’s only for rich people. They imagine counting their money, you know, in the evenings by the fire place or something like that or driving really fancy cars. Again estate planning is for wealthy people but it’s also for people of all socio-economic backgrounds. It’s not just for rich people. And the problem is the term estate conjures up a lot of these images.
So therefore I would just like to say that estate planning is, you know, people say well if it’s not for rich people what is it for and I tell people that the word estate simply refers to all of your stuff. If you’ve got any stuff you might want to consider doing an estate plan. Some people say okay well what kind of stuff are you talking about Rob and I say well we’re talking about things like real estate, if you have an apartment or a condominium or a house, land or any sort, bank accounts, savings accounts, checking accounts, those types of things, stocks, a lot of people own individual stocks or they own like investments, they have an investment account at a brokerage firm so investments count, IRAs is part of your estate, that’s individual retirement account and individual retirement account 401Ks, 403Bs, pension plan, all of these things are part of your estate, they’re part of your stuff. Jewelry can be part of your stuff or any kind of valuables that you might have such as a baseball card collection or, you know, maybe you like to I had one client she collected dolls from different countries. I mean it was a very expensive collection. That becomes part of your estate, part of your stuff.
Another thing that people sometimes forget about is insurance accounts, insurance products such as life insurance, whether it’s a whole life policy, a term life policy, those insurance accounts are part of your stuff, they come into your estate after you die but they’re never the less part of your stuff. Some folks have businesses and a business can be part of your stuff, part of your estate and you have to ask yourself what about that business, what’s going to happen to it, who’s in charge if you’re not in charge? These are the questions that we need to ask. So forget about the word estate planning. We’re just going to call it stuff planning okay. If you’ve got stuff, let’s make a plan for it. So stuff planning is probably a little bit easier to get your mind around if you don’t like the word estate. Frankly I’m not crazy about the word estate but I wasn’t there when they came up with the term.
If you want to learn more about estate planning or wish to discuss your own estate plan, give us a call at (661) 414-7100. Thank you very much.