In this episode we go through the process of settling an estate after a client passes away, and give some real life examples from our experiences of things that happen and pitfalls to avoid. There can be serious repercussions if your estate is not in order, not only after death, but during your lifetime as well, in the event of illness or injury. Enjoy the episode and hear some stories about the consequences of not have a proper estate plan established, and how we walk clients through that process.


Speaker 1 [00:00:07] All right, welcome to Peace of Mind Radio podcast, I am Brian Ramsey, that still is Chris Vaughan, and this is Mr. Producer Aaron McAndrew. He was behind the he was well, he was producing it. And now we have Eric, who was here yesterday. He’s now producing its own refer to Mr. Producer. We’re talking about Eric Douglas back there anyway. All right. So first thing first that we didn’t do last week, we’re going to do this week. Our phone number, as you’re watching this, if you or if you’re listening to this and you find this interesting, you want to come see us. We do not charge for first meeting with anybody, come and talk, meaning you can pick our brains and say, Hey, I heard you guys talking about this particular subject and I want to know more about it. I want to know kind of how you guys do things and how you might see this particular issue or best practices with something. Come see us phone number for us. Five zero two two zero zero five two one zero. You can check us out at our website FWB. I think Mr. Producers, by putting it up there. But for those of you on podcast, it’s FWB Frank, William Powell Partners dot com. You can go in there and pull up a teen, click on any of our beautiful mugs and you’ll pull up our calendar. Not that we all have a face for radio, trust me, but but at least at least you’ll be able to pull it up and you just said to meetings, it’s there. 

Speaker 2 [00:01:27] But there’s just so many comments like. 

Speaker 1 [00:01:29] Well, you know, hey, it’s you know, the real. 

Speaker 2 [00:01:31] It says that while we’re looking into a camera. 

Speaker 1 [00:01:33] Yeah, no. Well, yeah, look, he’s got the filters on like high level. That’s true to make us more of a better appearance than anything. But anyway, all right. So we’re not talking about us. All right. So today, interesting topic did come up from a conversation I had with a client as of this morning. It’s happened on multiple occasions, but this particular phone call I got this morning, we all were giggling about it in our meeting. And so we’re like, Hey, let’s do, let’s do a topic on it. So today’s topic is about just having an organized estate plan, right? We see this all too often where and I’ll give you the example the client man. But all too often, folks that walk in here that luckily we get a hold of and we’re like, Hey, you need to get organized here and we help them get organized as part of what our service is. But we find that clients come in here and boy, they’re just so disorganized. They’ve got stuff everywhere. 

Speaker 2 [00:02:27] Even the ones that think they’re organized. 

Speaker 1 [00:02:29] Oh yeah. I mean, you know, look, even we’re in the business, and I would say that. So I do, and I’ll talk about what I do. But uh, might, might, might see my dad, for example, he’s my executor today. Might he not know where something specific is? Probably. But I do give the list every year of where all my stuff is, but might have missed a few things here and there, maybe. But all the bulk of major stuff, you know, he obviously knows where it is and who to contact and all that, which we’ll get to that in a few minutes. Now let me set the scenario for this particular this meeting on This Morning. So we have this client who’s elderly, OK? They’re more senior. Put it that way. And I would say they have about, I’m going to guess about two hundred thousand dollars give or take a little bit and it’s literally spread over. I’m going to guess at least ten banks in law. It’s $5000 in a CD. They’re $10000 in a CD there. There’s a checking account over here for this. There’s a checking account over here for Social Security that you never want to change because it is a pain in the butt duty to change your bank when it comes to Social Security benefits, then she’s got another checking account. She opened up because she had a CD there at one point, and now she has some drawn out of that account. It’s she literally had that. I don’t know how much time every month just making sure these accounts have money in there because of all the deductions that are coming out or payments it it’s a hot mess, but she doesn’t want her kids to know what they have now. They have other money, too. OK, so they actually have some money, but it’s it’s like, Oh, you have so much going on that when you when you pass away, your kids are going to mourn you and you’re for the first three days, you’re going right or up until they put in 

Speaker 2 [00:04:14] longer than three days 

Speaker 1 [00:04:16] until they until they know that they’re now the executor. Right. And there’s really nothing there and they’re going to what in the world do I do first? Right, right. And so and then six months into the they’re, you know, settle in your state, they’re going to be cursing you because you didn’t have stuff in order. And we see that a lot. Oh yeah, we actually when I was at a previous life in this world, we literally were hired on multiple occasions from executives because they’re like, I give up, I there’s no way I can do this. I’m out of town. They didn’t have to organize. I give up. I’ll just pay you to do it. And so that was a revenue source. 

Speaker 2 [00:04:54] Well, it’s not a lot of fun to be an executor anyway. Well, that’s true. Most of the time you’re doing it for a family member that you cared about. Right? So the question that I would ask you when you were doing all those is the biggest. To an executor, the lack of organization. 

Speaker 1 [00:05:10] Oh, absolutely. I mean, there are other pains, too, but probate is a pain in the rear end, but it’s really it’s just finding out where stuff is because literally what you have to do is go to the mailbox, right? You’re having to maintain that mailbox of that address so that you can get the mail in. You’re like, Oh, well, here they’ve got an IRA. If we throw 

Speaker 2 [00:05:27] all the junk mail while you’re doing and you’re like, 

Speaker 1 [00:05:29] What’s what didn’t know they had an IRA there? And then it’s not like some of the account stuff you get. You get on a monthly basis. Those are pretty easy to find, right? But some stuff you get on an annual basis, like if they have an annuity or a life insurance policy, you may not know where it is. You only get one statement a year, so that can be the other. What’s been your experience with that? I mean, 

Speaker 3 [00:05:49] along the same lines of that you just mentioned is I did have a client as well that passed away or they hadn’t passed away yet. Somebody who passed away, their advisor had passed away. The spouse, which was the the wife at the time, has outlived the husband by twenty five years of this, plus years at the time, right? The advisor, they kept everything like in like a brief. So it was like a briefcase, almost. You open it up and there were stacks of stuff. And I’m telling you right now I found statements that were on ditto paper, like back from before I was even alive. So all right. And they were hanging on to all this stuff. So they were almost too organized, right? Because there were times where I was helping weed through these statements and the files here that I’d pull out an account. And you know, how many companies have bought other companies in the course of the last, you know, 30 years or so that they wouldn’t even know what account that was right? So long story short here this this took it’s still is a client to this day, but this took about six to nine months before we could get through the entire thing. And the hardest part that we haven’t even mentioned yet for me was the fact that if I’m calling these companies, they’re not going to talk to me. I’ve got to get the client on the phone or I got to get the power 

Speaker 1 [00:07:19] and you’re seeing us. The advisory is the advisor. Yeah, and it’s also true. It’s also true of kids of parents. If they’re not on there, the kids get no information as well, correct? So that’s the other that’s another issue that we run into is kids call and say, Hey, I’m going to call about this account it after somebody passed away and you’re like, Hey, I can’t give you any information. It’s your your mom’s on your card, you’re down. You’re like, they just died and you’re like, Don’t care, I can’t give you any information. 

Speaker 3 [00:07:45] So adding to that story that I just said was one thing that we do here is on our client portals. We all the clients have a vault. Yeah. So what we were able to do was get them all in line took almost nine months to get everything because like you said, you’re getting statements sometimes once a year and we get everything we’ve created digitally. So now they have basically an estate planning tool built into their client portal that if they somebody passes away or they were to pass away, their beneficiaries are all listed. We know who those beneficiaries are. We know what’s going on with this date plan and everything. And now there’s access to all the different statements, all the files in the will. Anything they may have have in place. And it makes it a lot life, a lot easier when you don’t have to go through the house and search turned the couch over for, you know, different documents, stuff you’re looking for. 

Speaker 1 [00:08:41] So, yeah, so here’s I want to get to in a few minutes and we’ll talk about the different things that we do ask clients to do or the vault or any kind of documentation that we come up with to help get organized. I want to kind of finish up with that, but I want to give a couple of examples and then you guys can jump in here too. But so we’re now right now dealing with a situation where an elderly person just recently lost his wife and his wife was the money person she took care of all the bills you paid everything. He is legally blind so he wouldn’t able to see any way you can see any way. But but that’s the reason why she sort of was there to take over and and he never really had anything to do with it. And so she passed away about five or six years ago. And what we found out was that he would he was trying to do things himself, even though he was. He’s legally blind. And so we had somebody sort of step in and and and now we’ve got an attorney involved. We actually have the power of attorney. So we’re kind of cleaning things up. But the issue is that he we as we’re going through mail, we found checks that were two years old made out to him that were never deposited because he because he did, he didn’t know. He didn’t know what he guess. He did know or didn’t pay attention to it or whatever the case was. So. Again, that’s another issue of of not, you know, not being the day to day money person, losing that spouse or significant other and then just having financial chaos is really what this person referred to it as. So it doesn’t always happen when you’re dead, you can still be alive and have just financial discord and not know where things are and it’s a mess. I mean, there’s no telling how long it’s going to take to get things cleaned up. But we did have a power power of attorney appointed was appointed by the court. So you almost has like guardianship in a way. We had to get an attorney involved to get that done. And so it was kind of a mess. But we’re now in the process of cleaning everything up, right? So we’re going through and which 

Speaker 2 [00:10:50] is not a fun process. 

Speaker 1 [00:10:51] No, no, no. And there’s there’s real estate involved, there’s a farm involved. I mean, there’s all kinds of stuff involved in it. So it’s been a it’s been a real challenge for everybody involved just to find out where stuff is. That’s the that’s the challenge. And he didn’t even know that was the other crazy thing is he really didn’t know. 

Speaker 2 [00:11:09] So I’ve seen that multiple times. I mean, I’ve got, you know, several widows and widowers. They became clients of mine because the spouse had passed away and with several, I think I’ve run off top of my head. They were not the money person. Now they’re all intelligent. Most of them are fairly well-educated, but they don’t know where everything is. I’ve got one lady that did not know how to reconcile a checkbook, and we’re not talking about young people that are kind of doing things a little bit of a different way. Now we’re talking about somebody that has done things the old fashioned way. Their whole life had no idea how to do it. We spent an entire day paying off bills and reconciling checkbook, and she looked at me and she said, Do I need to enter every receipt when I use my debit card into my checkbook? Yeah, that’s the only way to do it right? And she pulled out a wad like this. I mean, it was basketball size of receipts from this big person she had. There were thousands of dollars that had been spent that there was no accounting for. So what I would tell you is if you’re the money person in your household, you need to teach the other person how to where everything is. Yeah, how to handle it, because you do not want your already under duress when you lose a spouse and now you don’t even know how to pay the mortgage or to turn the, you know, to keep the lights turned on. 

Speaker 1 [00:12:29] Yeah, yeah. The other thing I will say, I think it’s interesting about the software you’re talking about. I think we’re talking about the same software. Don’t talk about it because then that’s the secret you have to come in, as we all know about this special secret sauce of software we have. But the interesting thing is, so as you guys know, we we had this conversation. So I just took my girlfriend through that software package and she had updated feed documents that we updated everything and you can actually see we sent her mother the link. So now her and her mother and she was fine with it. We did. We did talk about that. But so now her and her mother both have access to this vault, as you as you’re calling it. I think it is called the vault. Yeah, OK. All right. So but they both have access to it. So should something happen to her? Her mom knows. I just log in and write, there everything is. So we literally went through and said, listed on that website, all of her assets and in all that good stuff. So at least her mom sort of has a general idea of where the majority of everything is. So again, that’s another another thing that if you could just do that, you’re going to be 

Speaker 3 [00:13:31] makes life a lot easier. Oh yeah, for the people, you know, it’s not going to be easy, obviously, that they lose you or you lose somebody that close to you. That’s not easy. It’s hard enough. Makes life a lot easier. When you’re having to turn, you’re already going to go to their house, you’re already going to have to do all that, all that hard stuff. But you don’t want to have to be digging through paper files and all of the right trying to 

Speaker 2 [00:13:51] find well and digging through paper files. I think back to when my mom passed, mom considered herself to be highly, highly organized. Well, by her standards, she was in her mind. She was by mine and everybody else’s. We couldn’t find anything. It took months of rifling through decades old paperwork, so doing it in a system like that helps whoever’s left your survivors. They can find things. 

Speaker 1 [00:14:16] Yeah, yeah. 

Speaker 3 [00:14:16] And there’s a such thing of being to organize. Some people still have these big, tall file cabinets from, oh yeah, the 80s in their house or 70s in our house, and their drawers are completely full. 

Speaker 2 [00:14:26] That’s exactly what I’m talking about. 

Speaker 3 [00:14:28] State Yeah. Yeah, oh yeah. You don’t even need anymore 

Speaker 2 [00:14:31] every statement, everything they’ve ever done in their life. 

Speaker 1 [00:14:34] Yeah, yeah, yeah. So what are some of the sort of give us an idea a client comes in and you’re talking about sort of being organized? What are some of the things that best practices that you guys typically walk a client through? Hey, make sure you do this. Make sure you do that. I’d encourage you to do this. What? What are some of the things? 

Speaker 3 [00:14:51] Well, we we go through a checklist when clients on board and we’re going through a checklist and when we’re talking about estate planning and sometimes it’s not even necessarily when we before you get the estate planning, can be what Chris was mentioning earlier about communicating if you’re. Bill payer, I’ll use my wife for an example. I talked to my wife a couple of times a year about the bills alone, just because I’m the one that does all the bills. She comes home, she’ll come home from work, she’ll drop her benefits package or whatever it is. She gets at work on the table and go, Look at this and you do this, and I’ll say, we need to do this because if something was to happen to me, right, she’s going to have to take care of that. 

Speaker 1 [00:15:28] So or Jimmy, the poor boy will 

Speaker 2 [00:15:31] has a different story. 

Speaker 1 [00:15:32] I know that’s that’s more of a conversation, you guys. If you ever come see us, Jimmy, the poor boy is my common phrase. But anyway, go ahead. 

Speaker 3 [00:15:40] So we’ll go through a checklist as a what you know, what kind of conversations they should be having. What are we need? We do have that, obviously. What can we save in the bowl? And even like passports, things like that help you lose that, you know, so we go through a checklist as to how they should get their financial world in order. Yeah. And that certainly helps, you know? But at the end of the day week, working as advisers, we can kind of guide them into what they do, but they have to be able to do that. Yeah. So, you know, I think that that helps those conversations around it with that checklist and everything will help. But getting in your life and order organized is is extremely important. 

Speaker 2 [00:16:20] Yeah, I was going to go with the checklist thing as well. It’s it’s not just a matter of organizing. That’s all true, but there’s a lot of things that you don’t think are that important. But by going through a systematic finding of all of those important documents or decisions that have to be made. One of the things that you very rarely see in estate documents is what your wishes are when you pass away and your survivors are guessing at what you want it. Well, I think she said that she wanted this and you don’t want somebody who just lost a spouse or a parent, you know, maybe two days before coming up with things like this. So going through that process, that checklist of of documents and wishes and beliefs will help kind of organize everything for you. And then there’s I don’t think that there’s a right or wrong answer as far as where you put everything. But it is important that other people have access to it. Yeah, there’s you know, I’ve heard people say, well, put everything in a binder, what happens if you have a fire? Now, now what? So just making sure that other people know where all the documents are, you know, the software we’re talking about where a parent or, you know, a family member has access to it from outside? Yeah, those are all great things to do. 

Speaker 1 [00:17:38] Yeah. Keep in mind that, you know, in some of your estate documents, it’s great to have a digital copy of it, but you actually have to have the the you have to have the originals. So it may not always be that that, uh, you know, the stored digitally is what you need. Sometimes you need the original, so just keep that in mind. And whoever does your estate work will let you know which ones you have to have, which ones are copies are acceptable and that kind of thing. The one thing I tell you of that. So we have a couple of great resources that we sort of will walk clients through to say, You know, here’s where I do all my banking. Here’s where I have a life insurance policy. Here’s where I have my investments. But at the end of the day, what we encourage all of our clients to do is just give them a name to say, if something happens to me, reach out to Aaron. Aaron knows everything. If something happens, do you know to me? Call Chris? Chris knows everything. And while we don’t have access to everything, we probably have done some sort of notes in our file or something in a financial plan where we have a list of everything that you have. And so at least we can sort of help that executor or beneficiaries or whoever you wanna look at it, at least get got them in the right direction. Right. But I will tell you one thing I do is I actually have. I have a spreadsheet and I list everything. I don’t list how much is there. You could, but I don’t necessarily do. That changes. Yeah, I will list like I have a life insurance policy, our list of the life, who it’s with and the policy number, things like that. But like investment accounts, I just say there, Schwab. I don’t see how much there is. I just say it’s at Schwab. I have a couple of things that I say reach out to this particular person because they they will they will know what it is. So as long as you have something like that, you know, because a lot of times this conversation is a bit morbid and you have a it’s either an issue for people to have that morbid thought process or conversation, so they have a tendency to not do it. But if you just want to, hey, beat your chest and say rah rah, look how much I’m worth. If you want to just do that and you just say, Hey, here’s my full balance sheet and you just instead of putting a number out there, you know, you put on put out there who your who the best contact is for that particular asset. That’s really what that’s really what you need to do. And again, we have a resource. So if you don’t have the estate planning documents that you want, call us, we can walk you through it. We’ve got a great process in place to do it. If we need something more sophisticated, we have in-house counsel, we have everything you need. Plus we have that particular software as what Aaron, I think. What Aaron was talking about has that vault, we can load everything in there, you can share that vault with beneficiaries or your kids or girlfriend, boyfriend, whatever you want, a mistress or whatever you want. We don’t really care who you share with me anyway, but we have all those resources, right? So that’s the point is if you don’t think you’re that organized and you just want somebody to organize, you just like if you went to a Bed Bath and beyond or something and you said, Hey, I need organization here, they got that whole section called organization, right? It’s kind of the same thing, right? So we can help you get organized and we’re happy to do that for you. So look us up. Come see us. We don’t charge for it. You can come in and talk to us and say, What does all that mean? When you say organize, what? How can you help us out? What can you do for us? We happy to walk you through that. Any other comments questions about this particular subject? 

Speaker 2 [00:20:58] No, not really. OK. 

Speaker 1 [00:21:00] I think we hit it off. Yeah. So make sure you tune in every week. We’re happy to to. Well, we put our content every week. I’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have about any of the subject matters we cover. Phone number four US five zero two two zero zero five two one four makes you turn in. Last week, Chris had a pretty good zero. What I say five two 

Speaker 2 [00:21:18] one four oh 

Speaker 1 [00:21:20] oh five two one zero. Sorry two one for me. 

Speaker 2 [00:21:23] Direct our conversation. Last week, I knew there weren’t enough zeros there. 

Speaker 1 [00:21:26] Five two one zero. Sorry. That’s the main number you’ll get any of us. But if you call me, that’s fine. We’ll get you. We’ll get you directly wherever you want to go. But anyway, last week we talked about sort of surround yourself or teamwork, so make sure you go back and watch that. When I was a very good one. That was Chris’s idea. So he that was his subject. But anyway, if you got any questions and if you have any other subjects you want us to address are happy to do that. Love to hear. Yeah, a couple of the ones we’ve done have been things that clients have said, Hey, I want you to address this so we can do that too. Zimmerman sounds off. Did that thing that Eric normally does? 

Speaker 2 [00:22:03] I am not technologically savvy. 

Speaker 1 [00:22:05] Basically, if you’re watching, it can hit the Subscribe button read and you get our content everywhere. 

Speaker 2 [00:22:11] You’re shaking his head at us right now. I think he’s disgusted with us. 

Speaker 1 [00:22:14] If you listen to some podcasts, make sure you like and review and give us a thumbs up and all of our stuff just helps us. 

Speaker 2 [00:22:21] YouTube you hit the red subscribe button. 

Speaker 1 [00:22:23] I said that many go. 

Speaker 2 [00:22:24] Anyway, I’m behind. I mean, yeah, anyway, I hit. 

Speaker 1 [00:22:27] You know what you need do anyway. You guys have a good week. We will talk to you next week. 

Speaker 4 [00:22:33] The information given here and is taken from sources that IFP Advisors LLC doing businesses, independent financial partners, IFP IFP securities, doing business as IFP and its advisors believed to be reliable. But it is not guaranteed by us as to accuracy or completeness. This is for informational purposes only and in no event should be construed as an offer to sell or solicitation of an offer to buy any securities or products. Please consult your tax and or legal advisor before implementing any tax and or legal related strategies mentioned in this publication, as IFP does not provide tax and or legal advice. Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and do not take into account the particular investment objectives, financial situation or needs of individual investors. This report may not be reproduced, distributed or published by any person for any purpose without AFP’s express prior written consent. Securities offered through IFP Securities LLC Doing Business as Independent Financial Partners, IFP member of FINRA and SIPC investment advice offered through IFP advisors doing business as IFP, a registered investment advisor. IFP and family wealth planning partners are not affiliated. The information given herein is taken from sources that IFP Advisors LLC doing business as IFP IFP Securities LLC, doing business as IFP and its advisors believe to be reliable. But it is not guaranteed by us as to accuracy or completeness. This is for informational purposes only and in no event should be construed as an offer to sell or solicitation of an offer to buy any securities or products. Please consult your tax and or legal advisor before implementing any tax and or legal related strategies mentioned in this publication, as IFP does not provide tax and or legal advice. Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and do not take into account the particular investment objectives, financial situation or needs of individual investors.