As an estate planning attorney, I am constantly emphasizing the importance of planning now to protect yourself, your family, and your assets. In my office, no one has to apologize for wanting to leave a legacy, no matter how late they start the planning process. Despite the vague cautionary tales we are all familiar with, we often refuse to face our own mortality and push things off for another day—even vitally important things like estate planning.
I recently ran across a riveting cautionary tale from Forbes. This article tells the tale of the Rollins family, the famous faces who have been steering the Orkin Pest Control ship for over 50 years.
Despite owning a multi-billion dollar company that experienced profit increases on almost a yearly basis, the once well-situated family has devolved into shady trust management, lawsuits, and interpersonal feuding.
Trusts were set up with vague stipulations, allowing the next generation to control the funds and mishandle assets meant to last for their children and grandchildren. The result? Years of high-profile legal battles and, still, no resolution. All of this could have been avoided with proper trusts and estate planning.
Not a billionaire? It can matter even more to average families, where there isn’t the luxury of time and funds for argument if someone unexpectedly passes away. You’ll want a plan in place. Working with an experienced estate planning attorney to thoroughly (and regularly) plan for your family’s financial future is not only a smart choice, it’s a necessary one.