A very interesting thing has happened to a couple of friends recently. Their parents have passed away and they are in charge of disbursing the funds. Unfortunately, much of the wealth was wrapped up in real estate. The parents assumed that their children would use money in the bank to pay the small bequeaths to their grandchildren, nieces, nephews, charities,etc, and then sell the homes for the big inheritance the kids were willed.
Guess what, big surprise here, there wasn't nearly the money in the property (or stocks that they assumed would handle much of the other inheritances) as the parents thought. I have two friends that will be giving more money to the grandchildren then the children will actually receive....if and when we get the homes sold for whatever it fetches. To make it worse, they have to pay for the upkeep, association fees, updating to get it in selling condition to compete, and the constantly increasing property taxes out of their own pockets/portion of the inheritance.
Now no one is being greedy. These people will all do as their parents expressed in the will, but I knew several of these parents and they NEVER intended for their children to get so little of the money they left. They truly believed that their homes would sell quickly and for good prices. They were in the dark about how dramatically prices and market time were being affected. They would have changed their wills immediately if they had known what financial worries they would be putting their children though.
I have decided to write a letter to my clients and sphere of influence trying to educate them about this issue. I believe there are many more people out there that are going to find themselves in the same or worse situations. No parent wants their children to have to deal with family squabbles, getting threatening phone calls from relatives wanting their money NOW or proof that there isn't money to pay until the property is sold.
Do your clients, friends, loved ones, a service and try to educate them. Get accurate CMAs so they get a realistic viewpoint. See if you can get the email addresses of their executor/children so that they will have a copy in the file....which means they will also have your contact information. For this holiday season, give everyone the gift of peace of mind that their assets will be disbursed the way they really desired.