Some of the Most Difficult Decisions

Some of the Most Difficult Decisions
31 Oct 2016

Recently, I sat down with a senior client who has adult children.   Her and her husband owned a small business with a significant amount of assets. After her husband passed, it took nearly 18 months to get the estate settled and now she needs to determine the future of her estate. In other words, when something happens to her, which of her children will be the Executor of her estate?

It’s a lot easier to make decisions for your Executor than to put them in the position of trying to read your mind. If you or someone you know is in or could be in this situation, here are a few things for you to be thinking about:

  1. Make sure your Last Will and Testament is updated. By doing this, you can make sure that your most recent wishes and ideas have been put into a legal document, which will give your Executor and the attorneys a better idea of the path on which they need to proceed
  2. Talk with your kids or the others you might consider to be an Executor. This should be a deep conversation; not necessarily about death and dying, but about whether they can handle the burden of being an Executor.
  3. Talk with your attorneys about your wishes for the estate. They can help guide you and can lend anecdotal conversations to the mix when your kids are left without you
  4. Make sure that your kids understand that a search for an Executor isn’t a competition. Your legacy will live through each of them, and they should have an understanding that this was never about who Mom or Dad liked better
  5. Many times, Executors end up spending a lot of time and effort, for which they are compensated…but still, a lot of time and effort.  Is there one person you would trust with this simply because they have the time, will put in the effort, and have a clear understanding of what your desires are?

These are just five ideas I have regarding this tough situation. Having watched it play out a number of times, I recommend that you have a Durable Medical Power of Attorney well before hand. While some financial advisors may try to keep you only within their sphere of influence, my approach is to make sure that your attorney, tax professional, financial advisor and family members are all on the same page.  By doing this, you will know that you are doing your best to not only preserve your legacy, but also preserve the relationships of those you leave behind.


Matt Westberry

As an independent financial professional, Matthew R. Westberry’s goal is to help you create a personalized investment plan that is unique to your situation, attitude and goals. He is dedicated to building long term relationships and providing continued service to ensure that your objectives are met. Matt takes a personalized approach with his clients, he will sit down at your kitchen table, take the complex issues facing retirees & pre-retirees and put together a comprehensive, easy to understand plan that will help you achieve your financial goals. Matt graduated from Coe College in 2005 where he majored in Business Administration and Economics. Matt is currently enrolled in The American College of Financial Services Certified Financial Program. He believes that continuing his education benefits both him and his clients. Matt is currently an Investment Advisor Representative with Cambridge Investment Research, Inc. He holds the series 6, 7, 63 and 65 licenses as well as accident, health and life insurance licenses. Matt currently resides in Marion, IA with his wife Cassandra and son Landry.