If you’re considering creating an estate plan (and you most likely should) it might be a good time to ask: Have you any dragons?
In the HBO hit series Game of Thrones, dragons are an extremely valuable asset for Daenerys Targaryen. They also become a major liability.
At the time of her wedding, Daenerys received three dragon eggs as a gift. Some people give a crystal flower vase, some give dragon eggs — to each his own, right?
Fire and ROI
In time, the dragons were born. Named Drogon, Rhaegal, Viserion, the babies were adorably lethal. Along with a massive army of former slave soldiers and other holdings, the dragons proved to be a nice addition to Daenerys’ rather diversified portfolio. Sure, they required some care, but the return on investment — loyalty and death-by-fire for her enemies — was solid.
Unfortunately, the good times couldn’t last. During a dangerous rescue mission to save Jon Snow, Viserion falls victim to the Night King, supreme leader of the White Walkers. The Night King reanimates the fallen dragon. Viserion, now an ice-breathing beast, ultimately pierces the Wall, the only thing protecting Westeros from the Army of the Dead. Not good.
This is all to say: Protect your assets. Just as Daenerys’ once-valuable dragons proved to be a major liability, your assets and everything you worked hard to earn could be in jeopardy without an estate plan.
We’re not suggesting your nest egg might come back to breathe death and destruction in the form of an ice-wind. But without an estate plan, your heirs could face challenges of other kinds, like taxes and time-consuming court proceedings (probate).
There are many things to consider in creating an estate plan, and you’ll want to consult with a professional to evaluate your situation. To simplify what can be an overwhelming process, the Motley Fool outlines some basic steps to take. Here are a few to think about:
Start with a will
Decide who you’d like to receive your possessions and write it down. And if you have young children, directing who you’d want to care for them in your absence is a good idea.
Establish a trust
A basic will can have limitations and still lead to lengthy probate proceedings. By establishing a trust, your assets may get to your heirs sooner.
Prepare for incapacity
An estate plan isn’t just about preparing for your death. If you become incapacitated for any reason, who’ll help manage your affairs and make important decisions on your behalf? Talk with a lawyer or a financial professional to learn more about powers of attorney and advance medical directives. If you’re Jon Snow, incapacity is all relative.
Keep your estate plan current
As you progress through various life stages, your estate plan may need to evolve. Marriage, divorce, birth of children, and other events can impact your strategy.
For a more in-depth look at estate planning, Transamerica’s Advanced Markets team created this useful guide.
Do you have a plan in place to protect your estate — dragons, armies or otherwise? Share your thoughts on real-life strategies or financial lessons learned in the Seven Kingdoms.
Neither Transamerica nor its agents or representatives may provide tax, investment or legal advice. Anyone to whom this material is promoted, marketed, or recommended should consult with and rely on their own independent tax and legal advisors and financial professional regarding their particular situation and the concepts presented herein.
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