In this world, nothing is certain except death and taxes. It’s a special treat, however, when you can bush up with both on the same day.
This morning, following a warning email from my accountant, the IRS swooped in and confiscated the funds for my fourth quarter payroll taxes. I knew it was coming, but nothing can really prepare you for the mind-searing pain that comes from the IRS severing a significant sum of your earnings. When followed up with a warm conversation with a client about death, it’s made for a pretty heavy day.
Unfortunately, the conversation was relevant. In fact, it is one that more people should have, long before the day it becomes due. My client, in this case, is preparing to purchase a new home. She and her husband are not old, by a long shot. In fact, I would venture to say they are barely approaching middle age. However, they do not have children and they want to be sure that, were something to happen to one or the other of them, they would not be a burden on the other or an extended family member. I guess if you do have children, you can go ahead and burden them. They probably earned it.
Either way, we ended up talking about the benefit of putting your home, as well as all other assets, into a trust. Now, I’m not an attorney, so I can’t advise anyone on trusts; I would just suffice it to say that it is a very good idea to get said advise on the subject before the eleventh hour; since none of us really know when that might occur. What I do know is that we have sold many a home that had been previously placed in a trust, and it has been a much smoother and easier process than waiting for a home to be freed up through the process of probate in order to proceed with the sale.
Honestly, I was not only impressed, but also strangely jovial that she would have the foresight to have this conversation. It is an easily avoidable subject to say the least. Especially at her age. Yet, in the end — and that is what we are talking about, isn’t it? — it will make things so much easier for her extended family, significant other and even any possible future offspring, to handle this prickly and unpleasant talk at the present time rather than waiting.
Just for the record, the conversation really wasn’t all doom and gloom. We did make some important decisions about what would be acceptable at each of our end of life celebrations. We both determined that neither of us wants funeral potatoes and yellow cake with chocolate frosting served at our services. In fact, I’m fairly sure I want carnival fare; popcorn, snow cones and cotton candy. I wouldn’t mind a table with some Twizzlers and Skittles as well. She wants happy music that will remind people of the joy that she has felt along the journey of life.
I guess, ultimately, what everyone wants, is to have left a good mark in their little corner of the world.
Jen Kirchhoefer is an associate broker and Realtor. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 801-645-2134.