What we don't know can hurt youSubmitted by Financial Planning Solutions, LLC on August 2nd, 2017
It's been a difficult few months.
I've had a few clients recently that are going through some difficult times. I myself broke my shoulder several weeks ago and my family and I decided to move during this time. Not exactly the best timing.
But life is like that. As John Lennon said, "Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans"
I have a couple of clients going through a divorce, one struggling to find a new job, and most recently a client who also became a close friend over the last twenty odd years passed away from cancer.
He left behind a spouse that wasn't really involved with the day to day finances of their life and came to me with bags full of statements, forms, and various paperwork.
This is nothing new to me as for the last 25 + years, I've sorted out more estates than I care to think about. Usually, my clients are in a good position as we have put their finances in place so the settling of an estate is usually pretty straight forward. Sure, there are always a couple of loose ends but this was not the case and what I found out surprised me.
"Tim" was very organized and a great client to work with. He took the various tasks I assigned him and usually completed them on a timely basis. His estate plan was something he seemed to be dragging his feet on though. (I find that many of my clients have difficulty in this area, as it is uncomfortable to address end of life decisions).
I found out he also had a tremendous amount of credit card debt. In excess of $60,000. There were some other issues with real estate and the ownership of bank accounts.
I had tried to schedule meetings with him and his spouse for many months but these always ended up getting cancelled due to emergency hospital stays or doctor appointments.
When we reviewed things over the years, he never shared with me the debt even though I asked. Maybe he was embarrassed. Maybe he thought he had time to address it. Maybe, like some, he just didn't want to deal with it.
The more I know about one's finances the better job I can do. There are definitely things we can do to mitigate costly mistakes.
Believe me, I know that much of this stuff isn't fun. However, it always has to be dealt with. We can either deal with it now, or leave it behind for someone else to deal with.
Your loved ones are dealing with a tremendous amount of emotional turmoil upon your passing. Let's not leave them with more than that.
We are here to help.
All the best.
Rick Fingerman, CFP®, CDFA™, CCFS®
Financial Planning Solutions, LLC (FPS) is a Registered Investment Advisor. Financial Planning Solutions, LLC (FPS) provides this blog for informational and educational purposes only. Nothing in this blog should be considered investment, tax, or legal advice. FPS only renders personalized advice to each client. Information herein includes opinions and source information that is believed to be reliable. However, such information may not be independently verified by FPS. Please see important disclosures link at the bottom of this page.