As you might imagine, the royal estate of Queen Elizabeth II was massive, with an estimated value of about $27 billion. Personally, the Queen’s net worth was around $500 million. The bottom line: a huge transfer of wealth is about to happen.
The good news is that, as you might expect from British royalty, the Queen’s estate plan was a masterpiece. Not only did it account for a plethora of diverse assets—trusts, real estate, a family business, fine art, jewelry, and even assets owned by separate trusts—but it was impeccably maintained to address the many changes that occurred throughout the duration of her life.
We may not have royal estates, but we can certainly learn from the Queen’s savvy approach to estate planning. Here are 3 estate planning lessons fit for a queen (but applicable to you, too):
1. Have your documents in order. An effective estate plan includes more than just a will or trust. Important documents, like a Durable Power of Attorney or Advance Directive for Healthcare, should also be in place. Beyond having the right series of estate planning documents, making sure your loved ones know where to find them, as well as what their responsibilities may or may not be in administering your estate, is of equal importance.
2. Make regular updates to your plan. Estate planning isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it activity. As your life changes—for example, you have children or grandchildren, get married or divorced, or lose a loved one—your estate plan needs to be updated accordingly. Because the Queen’s life was lived more publicly than most, we know of several occasions where updating her estate plan became a matter of prudence.
3. Talk about your wishes before you pass away. Let your family and loved ones know how your assets will be distributed (and why), so you can answer their questions and prevent family squabbling later down the line. The Queen famously communicated her desire for Prince Charles’ wife, Camilla, to be referred to as the Queen after her death. While that is a decision that Charles could have made as King, knowing that he has his mother’s blessing to refer to his wife as the Queen must provide a sense of relief.
Preparations for Queen Elizabeth’s death started decades ago, and—if you have the foresight—you’ll follow suit and begin preparing for your own death decades before it happens. However, we don’t’ always know how many decades of life we have left, so the best way to protect your loved ones and legacy is to start planning now.
Contact Miller Estate & Elder Law
Miller Estate & Elder Law is here to guide you through the estate planning process. Whether your estate is massive and complex, or small and simple, we can help design a plan that is fit for a queen (or king). Complete the brief form below to contact us today!