10 February 2015

"Empire: All Sizes Matters"

Whatever your actual or projected assets, you lead an empire worthy of your paying attention to end of life details. Do your family a favor and die well-- regardless of the size of your bank account.

As each week unfolds, we are left wondering who will live to run the Lyon's Empire. Will Cookie outrun the feds and the streets to run it? Will the bi-polar sex marionette elder son run it? Will one lip quiver away from winning a drag show gay son run it? Will temper tantrum throwing poser of a thug son run it?  Will Boo Boo Kitty Debutante the Deadly wife in law run it? Or will the publicly traded version of Empire get caught up in Federal dealings that will cause it to impale itself on its own sword?  There are other possibilities that I will speculate on another date.  But for now...

Lucious is dying.  War between brothers has thrown propaganda, punches, and pulled guns.  War between women has thrown shade, vases, and side eyes.  You know, some of the same things so many African Americans initiate, experience and endure when a loved one dies.  Such is exacerbated when a Big Daddy dies without a will, MeMaw dies with an outdated will, and Uncle Bit dies with undocumented wishes for distribution of wealth. Of any amount.

But family, it doesn't have to come to this.  This Black History Month, how about we all put time into planning to leave legacies of peace through planning what happens to our belongings after we die?

Five reasons you know you should get your financials documented-- get your assets and beneficiaries, regardless of the size of your bank account-- in print, witnessed, and made public:
  1. You have more than one child.
  2. You have more than one sibling.
  3. You have more than one parent (parents by marriage count).
  4. You have more than the clothes on your back.
  5. You have no (or unplanned) control over your death. 
How sad to hear of stories where families decide they have irreconcilable differences when a parent dies and they are left to equitably divide $50K between siblings. Try explaining to them how equity does not necessarily mean equal. Related:  "Black Heirlooms"

How tragic it is for a senior left rotting away in a nursing home be found to have more value to his family dead than alive.  Try raising their unethical decision to withhold money to enhance the family member's care while dying but spending the decedents money on living luxuries before the ink is dry on the death certificate.  Related: "Stop Waiting for Mom and Dad to Die"

How agonizing is it to leave your family to fight over a morsel of money or an Empire of an estate. The outcomes-- as we may know from our on family discord in the aftermath of a parent's death; are witnessing from the King children's public legal battles; or are learning from art imitating life on Empire-- are all-consuming, life-destroying, and deadly. And largely avoidable.  Related:  "King Family Feud"

There is no honor in orchestrating a family-apocolypse with your dying. Sure, we shall all die; but we don't have to take our family to the grave with us.  Related:  "Not Just for the Rich and Famous"

The big word is estate-planning. The regular people like you and me word is 'get it in writing.' Regardless of the size of your empire, you owe it most to your family to get it in writing.

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