I want to tell you a story. A few weeks ago one of my favourite clients passed away, a beautiful lady of grace, we have been privileged to serve her family for more than 20 years. Irene lost her husband William¹ some years earlier and had been dependent on him to manage their finances for the entire 46 years of their marriage.
A Backup Plan
William, a meticulous gentleman, had seen value in Estate Planning For Life as soon as it was proposed to him. I’ve been worried about how Irene and our daughter Louise would cope if I wasn’t there ….William said to me on more than one occasion …what with all these shares and investments, I have never burdened them with the money and now I’m getting older it has been on my mind a lot!
Before he died William provided a detailed list of all his assets, liabilities, insurances and regular bills. They wanted to provide for their daughter and disabled grandson so we found him a new lawyer and helped in the preparation of new wills, powers of attorney and guardianship. We also took copies of share certificates, titles deeds, marriage certificates and a video of the contents of their home as an insurance record.
What Do We Do Now?
William died suddenly of a stroke aged 85. Distressed, their daughter Louise called us as she was worried about her parents age pension entitlements and didn’t want her mother to be overpaid. Louise also knew of her father’s complicated share holdings and knew enough about capital gains tax to be concerned.
“I’ll bring mum to see you next week, what do I need to find before we come in?” asked Louise emotionally exhausted by the last few days.
“Nothing”, I replied, “we already have everything we need”.
“But surely we must need documents and share records, there are tax issues, bills to be paid, birth certificates and marriage certificates, the title deeds to the house! Dad took care of everything and I now have to take care of Mum…”
Louise was delighted to discover that her father had taken the time to complete the Information That Matters record and we had prepared a Crisis Management Plan to guide the family. In the end Irene took control of the family finances very smoothly and ran things for 6½ years until she too took ill and died suddenly as well.
Connecting to the Next Generation
So now we are helping Louise through the same process but this time she is the client. Her able bodied son Stephen lives in the US and only has 2 weeks in Australia to help his mum through the difficult times so the Crisis Management Plan has been a godsend.
A distressed daughter, a disabled grandson and a compressed window to guide the family through the complexities of a trust established in the will, EPFL has protected the family and built a robust connection to the next generation for one of our longest tenured clients.
It has been a pleasure and a privilege to serve a family that understands the value of advice and we look forward to serving the next generation. Of course we have taken care of their money but William and Irene asked us to take care of their family before all things.
Good advice puts people first!