Elissa Buie, MBA, CFP®
Golden Gate University
Postmortem estate planning requires an overall view of the estate situation, including the basics of the general principles of financial planning. There is often insurance involved in an estate, and risk management can be an area of concern for the fiduciaries involved in settling the estate. The treatment and selection of assets in the management and distribution of the estate require a thorough understanding of investments and income taxes. A thorough understanding of all tax laws is crucial to ensuring poor decisions are not made by either inappropriately implementing a postmortem technique or missing the opportunity to take advantage of such a technique. Postmortem estate planning is very complex, requiring excellent communication skills on the part of the financial planner. Also, postmortem planning will entail the planner working alongside other professionals, such as estate planning attorneys, tax accountants, and insurance agents. Good interpersonal communication will facilitate the work of the group of advisors for the benefit of the client. The planner must also adhere to ethical standards of professional conduct and fiduciary responsibility.
There are three scenarios where postmortem estate planning is important: (1) a mistake was made ...