Mistakes of the godfather

I don’t have HBO, and I don’t watch much TV… Watching TV is one of the sure ways to guarantee a life of meaningless existence. That isn’t the point, but I couldn’t resist to rant about one of the biggest time-wasters that is culturally accepted.

Even I know of the show The Sopranos and the actor James Gandolfini who played played the fictional mob boss on the show. On the show, he was an expert at hiding money from the feds, but in real life, he fell prey to the feds.

You’ve heard it asked so many times, “Do you know what will happen with your estate if you get hit by a bus tomorrow?” Why is it always a bus?

I always add to this, “This won’t happen to you (because it probably won’t and it’s not even a very good reason to get your estate in proper order), but if it did, do you know exactly what would happen and can you demonstrate it clearly on one piece of paper?”

Well, James Gandolfini didn’t get hit by a bus unexpectedly, but he did get hit by a massive heart attack while vacationing in Rome last month. He was only 51 years old.

To save you the suspense, I’ll give you the bottom line: Federal and state tax collectors will take more than $30 million of Gandolfini’s estimated $70 million estate. One New York estate attorney who reviewed the legal documents called it “a disaster.”

Stephen Breitstone, head of the tax law group and an estate tax strategist in Mineola, N.Y. said, “One of the biggest challenges of estate planning is to get people motivated to do it. If they don’t think they’re going to die, they’re going to put it off for another day.”

But that is because estate planning is all about death! And people don’t want to think about dying… not to mention that deep down inside, we want to believe we never will die (and for those who believe in eternal life, we won’t die, but we will leave this earth at some point).

With this knowledge of losses in estate taxes and the lack of a full and complete estate tax plan, articles and advice like this one immediately go into the solutions for removing estate tax. And then you fall asleep.

Why? Because legal jargon is boring, confusing and not how we normal people understand things.

Not to mention there are about 104 different tactics for removing estate tax, capital gains tax and increasing current income.

People don’t need estate planning because it is a death plan and because you won’t be around to deal with it anyway, just like Gandolfini. It’s his family that has to deal with it and live with the disappointment and regrets.

But that thought isn’t enough motivation to do something today.

What you need is a living plan that takes you on the most desirable journey of your life accomplishing the deepest most important things to you right now… right now!

Where advisors to the wealthy go wrong and why less that 2 out of 10 estate planning strategies are ever implemented is because the advice is all about the tax strategy communicated in the most confusing and technical language.

We ought to not lose sight of reality: that a multi-million dollar estate is the result of a lifetime of hard work and that wealth of great magnitude has been bestowed for a reason, a higher purpose… a purpose much higher than avoiding unnecessary estate and gift taxes.

The place to start and the source of motivation is not estate tax removal, but your unique higher purpose for having wealth.

Do you know your unique higher purpose?

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