Inheritor's Handbook A Definitive Guide for Beneficiaries

Inheritor's Handbook A Definitive Guide for Beneficiaries
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  • ISBN-13: 9780684869087
  • ISBN: 068486908X
  • Edition: 1
  • Publication Date: 2000
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster


Rottenberg, Dan


Introduction You and I have never met, but already I know the single most important fact about you: You, your parents, and your spouse will die one day.The death of a parent or spouse is often a shattering experience, for two reasons: first, because you lose forever a primary source of love and emotional support; and second, because precisely at this moment when you're most emotionally vulnerable, you may need to make critical financial decisions.When you pause to think about it, these can be terrifying prospects. So terrifying, in fact, that most people refuse to think about them. As a result, the tragedy of death is often compounded into financial catastrophe. When your parent or spouse dies, he or she won't feel the consequences -- but you will.If you're a survivor or a potential survivor, what can you do? Until now, most experts have assumed that you could do very little -- because technically, what your parents do with their estate is none of your business. Mom and Dad can leave all they have -- or none of it -- to you, and they don't even have to tell you what they decide. If they leave the estate to you in trust, that's traditionally none of your business, either: The trustee, not you, is in charge of the assets.For these reasons, dozens of guidebooks have been written to help men and women write their wills and plan their estates. But inheritors -- whose needs may be far greater, and whose powers are far fewer -- have had few places to turn for help. This book seeks to fill that void -- whether the need arises before the death of your parents or spouse, at the time of death, or years after the death. It seeks to help inheritors and potential inheritors avoid unnecessary suffering and additional loss when a loved one dies. 10 BASIC RULES For starters, here are 10 basic rules that should serve you in good stead until you've digested the rest of this book:1Dealing with an estate -- before or after death -- is important.Even if your family's estate is modest, your failure (or your family's failure) to pay attention to it can cause considerable pain and expense to you and your relatives. It can mean that decisions about your family's property will be made by strangers in courts or in corporate bureaucracies. It can mean your parents' or spouse's property will be disposed of in a manner they never intended.2It's not that important.Estate and inheritance matters shouldn't be ignored, but neither should they consume you. Money and property per se don't buy happiness or solve problems; they merely provide greater opportunity to become happy or miserable, depending on your nature. Too many happy families have been torn apart by legal fights over inheritance. Maintain your perspective: Your ultimate goal is a happy, healthy, and rewarding life. A material inheritance may be a means to achieve that end, but it's not the end in itself.3Ninety percent of the problems you encounter after your parents (or spouse) die can be eliminated by talking to them about death and money before they die.This book offers practical advice about doing just that. If you can't talk to your parents about death and money (and don't feel bad -- most of us are in the same boat), or if you're already an inheritor, this book will, of course, address your situation as well.4Seek good advice.In the long run, a few hundred (or even a few thousand) dollars for a good lawyer, accountant, or financial adviser is money very well spent.5No expert or book has all the answers.You know your parents better than anyone -- including me. Do your homework but make your plans based on your unique knowledge of your family's unique situation.6The biggest obstacles you'll encounter as an heir will be emotional matters, not financial ones.Many problems that appear on the surface to be financial -- like jockeying for assets or income with yoRottenberg, Dan is the author of 'Inheritor's Handbook A Definitive Guide for Beneficiaries', published 2000 under ISBN 9780684869087 and ISBN 068486908X.

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