My wife asked me what would she do if I died “tomorrow”. To be clear, it was hypothetical but after the usual wise cracks of whether she was planning my demise, I responded that we had some clear estate planning, life insurances in place and assured her she would be essentially fine.
But that was not the answer she was looking for. What she really wanted to know was:
Once my estate was processed and funds distributed, based on what is going on in the world at this point in time, does she …
- Pay down debt?
- Prepay school fees?
- Invest some money in shares?
- Sell a property?
- Or something else?
And then in what order? What about tax?
We quickly ruled out putting it all on black at the casino (that’s a joke; please don’t think that’s a real option…), discussed very broadly and ultimately resolved that she should run her final decisions past an Adviser here at GFS. No doubt we’ll revisit that conversation in 12 months or so and the ultimate resolution will still be to seek guidance from one of my colleagues.
However, most people aren’t married to a Financial Adviser. There are millions of Australians who inherit money, having suffered through the emotional trauma of losing a loved one, then just apply their own ‘best guess’ as to what to do next.
Often we speak with clients seeking reassurance that if either of them passes, we’ll help support the surviving spouse not just through the estate time-frame, but also with those next important steps to set them up for the rest of their lives. Every person’s circumstances are different, as is what they can do with that inheritance so there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Further, the world is a constantly changing place so my suggestions to my wife would be materially different 12 months ago.
The key is: don’t wait until it’s too late to have that conversation. If it’s clear that you’re just applying a ‘best guess’ hypothesis and want to seek greater reassurances about what actually happens if your spouse or a loved one dies, we’re here to help.