No matter what corner of the globe you live on, no matter what time of the year you celebrate, there is no question that the holidays are for bringing together family. For bigger families or those that are spread far and wide, this is an especially important time of the year because it is the time where they put other priorities aside and do what is necessary to see one another.
On this rare occasion, there lies an opportunity to not only celebrate but have the necessary conversations for the wellbeing and sustainability of the family as a whole.
As counterintuitive as it might sound when you and your loved ones are finally together, it is vital to have some of the harder conversations. This is important because when it comes to decisions that affect the family as a whole, like dividing the estate, the subject needs to be broached when the majority of the family is there. Bringing this subject up is half the battle, but taking the time and space to talk about it will save grief emotionally and financially.
COVID-19 really drove home the fact that we need to get our affairs in order because life can be fleeting. In fact, 32% of young people aged 18 to 34 say they have sorted out an estate scheme due to the pandemic. This insurance on the valuable and sentimental things that we have built up throughout our lives, and from generation to generation, needs protection. Let’s take a look at a company that is helping prepare people and their families for the necessary decisions down life’s unpredictable road.
Putting the Person Back Into Estate Planning
Gentreo, which literally means three generations, is a financial estate planning, web-enabled software solution. It compiles all of the important faculties and tools needed to make preparing an estate plan both approachable and reassuring. Putting people back into the center of this sensitive process, Gentreo combines legal savvy, technology, and financial understanding into one all-encompassing package.
Gentreo was started by two sisters, Renee and Julie, who had to go through the rigorous and emotionally draining process of dividing the estate for their family. When it was all said and done, they were shocked at the $10,000 price tag for the services needed. They realized that they couldn’t be the only ones that have tried to navigate this highly confusing and financially detrimental experience.
Julie comes from a caregiver background, whereas Renee comes from the political sphere and is now in the startup world—making them a harmonious match to pursue a company that combines business, legalities, and very sensitive personal matters. Together, they went through every stage of the process to derive all of the necessary information to provide estate planning to everyone who seeks it—no matter their personal circumstances, demographic, budget, or even state. In fact, they went through the legal requirements of every state such as laws, documents, and standard questions for each before launching, ensuring that the language they used included all of the 50 states’ specificities.
Here is the short list of what is included in the estate planning package with Gentreo:
- A clearly defined Last Will and Testament: It is important to note that the will only takes effect when somebody has passed away, but when the language is clear it will help to avoid probate, or the need to validate the will.
- A Healthcare Proxy: A family member’s healthcare requests in the event they become incapacitated and unable to communicate.
- HIPPA release: This gives permission to persons who can advocate for you if you can’t do so yourself because of the circumstances.
- Power of Attorney: If you can’t make decisions (financial or otherwise) giving the legal permission and power to somebody who can.
- Living Trust: Put your assets into this in order to minimize taxes and avoid probate.
- Pets Trust and Pet Power of Attorney: The power of attorney for pet owners, giving allowances to designated persons for the necessary medical and financial decisions if anything happens.
- Digital vault: A digital platform, accessible by phone or computer, to store and share information. Gentreo’s software makes it easy to give access to documents to those who need them and differentiates the documents that need to be kept private.
- Emergency cards: Tangible cards with all of the needed information, such as phone numbers in case of emergency or contacts for if X, Y, or Z occurs.
Why Estate Planning is Important
A recent survey from LegalZoom.com found that 62% of Americans don’t have an estate plan in place. This is concerning because the number one thing to avoid is having anybody in your family die intestate, or without a last will and testament because it can leave all of the money tied up in probate.
Even with the proper documents, the requirements can sometimes be ambiguous and if the language is incorrect in any way, you can also be forced into probate litigation. With Gentreo, the package you pay for includes everything, including all updates and insurances—whether changes occur legally or personally. So if your life changes, you are covered to make those updates, but also if updates are needed based on state laws or specific situations, they have got you covered as well.
It is important to also note the huge emotional impacts that go along with this and go beyond protecting your money but are rather about protecting your personal healthcare choices. In the event of an emergency, when a family member does get sick, with an estate plan their choices are not only in black and white but are also legally protected. If it does come to the tough moment when that person comes to pass, everything has already been laid down with clear legal instruction and these sensitive final wishes can be respected.
This changes the narrative and takes the burden off of the loved ones to make hard decisions for their family members. Serving as a huge help in alleviating the emotional aftermath, and most often the weight of guilt, that comes with these types of events—having an estate plan in place allows the family to do what is necessary to grieve their loved ones rather than have to deal with the stress of sorting things out.
Finally, being prepared drastically improves the financial risks that often come with inheritance and estate planning. When it comes to wealth transfers if people are caught haunched on their laurels an average 3-7% of assets can be lost through probate. This is money that goes to the system, rather than to the generations that were a part of that person’s legacy.
Building a Better Future For Your Family
It is hard to know how to equally balance assets—as the value of things are changing so rapidly in today’s day and age, and different people tend to want different things. But think about it this way, if you don’t divide up things now, imagine how difficult it will be later. It starts by asking just one person if they have a will. This can start momentum throughout your family and save the uncomfortable round table argument about what and how much goes where down the road.
Save your family gatherings to come by doing diligence now, as good estate planning starts with the living. If you or your family need help in dividing your estate, start with Gentreo to ensure that you get the relevant information needed to move forward with your personalized plan.
Disclaimer: This article mentions a client of an Espacio portfolio company.