You can't take it with you!

2 Replies

Take a good look at this bedroom. It may be hard to see but the bottom-left pile is about 50 ammunition boxes, full of ammunition. The pile beneath the curtains includes 25 rifles, some shotguns, about ten handguns, and lots of military bags. The bed is littered various magazines, dozens of brand-new gloves, dozens of knives, spare parts, scopes, and more.

My Tenant died two weeks ago and left all this (and much, much more) in his apartment. He didn't have a will so I'm working with the family to handle things. I delivered all the guns and ammunition to an auctioneer this morning and we anticipate it will bring in $30,000 or more over the next couple months. 

As I went through this, I had the opportunity to think about my own assets. Do I have a plan for everything if I become incapacitated or am survived by my spouse? What if my spouse and I both pass away? Do I give it to my kids where it runs a high risk of being squandered? Or do I give it to a charitable cause that can perhaps help those less fortunate? Give it to some foundation that will put my name on a piece of granite where birds can crap and kids can parkour?

I have a plan if I'm incapacitated or survived by my spouse. I have less of a plan after that. 

Does anyone have suggestions on how to structure my estate to best protect my investments when I'm gone? I'm really leaning towards giving something to my kids, but the majority will likely go to a charity.

I would suggest speaking to an estate lawyer, certainly. They can have some great ideas how to avoid probate court. If you're worried about your kids squandering it, you can set up a trust for them. My step-dad died several years ago and set up trusts for his kids; they can't access the money until they are 35. They can ask for special dispensation from it from my mom (who is the executor) so they can put a down payment on a reasonable house, pay down student loans, etc, but that way they can't blow it on a new car every year.

My dad's is set up where he is leaving gifts to certain people in his life, $1,000 for his barber, a former property manager, that sort of thing, so friends and acquaintances can have a nice memory of him. He also had a round robin draft of some of his belongings myself and my siblings, we could all dibs a few items (he is still alive and ran the draft). It was a weird experience, but maybe something that would work for you. My siblings and I are all adults and only asked for 1 or 2 items each, I dibsed a meteorite and some tools. Nothing big like houses.

All in all, you've got to make the best choice for you. Sounds like you may want to involve your wife as well, she may have some ideas that work for both of you. It's a tough subject but an important one, good luck sorting it out.

I definitely know the importance of an attorney. I'm more interested in the concept and hearing what others have done. Thanks for the input!

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