Celebrity Ignorance Creates a Nightmare After Death



I just learned that the celebrity, Prince, the music icon, (Prince Rogers Nelson), didn’t have a will! Good Lord, my mind is blown!

This is tragic news for his estate, his family, and his own personal wishes. It constantly amazes me that celebrities with an enormous amount of wealth ignore this necessary step of wealth management.

Intestacy is the condition of the estate of a person who dies owning property whose value is greater than the sum of their enforceable debts and funeral expenses without having made a valid will or other binding declaration.

When this happens, the state the decedent (the person who passed away) lives in has the jurisdiction to enforce their intestacy laws. These are the rules that determine how their property will be distributed upon their death. This includes any bank accounts, securities, real estate, and other assets owned by the decedent at the time of their death.

There are costs involved with this process. Costs that are established by statute, meaning the law determines the fees being charged. There is no negotiating. There is no way around these fees as they are the law. Nor are these fees a tax. They are a “bill” that will be presented to the executor (if there is a will) or the administrator (if the state declares and appoints an administrator since the decedent didn’t appoint an executor).

PlanningThat bill is expected to be paid in a timely fashion. Often there aren’t enough liquid assets for a family to pay these fees and assets, such as family homes, are liquidated quickly (we call it a fire sale) for prices less than market rates to produce quick cash to fee the probate fees.

So what’s the solution? Check with your state to learn what size an estate must be in order to require going through the probate process. If the estate is smaller, the fees can be reduced or avoided (depending on state law).

In EVERY case, you need the following documents to protect your estate and your final wishes:

  1. Durable Powers of Attorney for healthcare and finance. These are two separate documents. As a result you can choose a specific person for your money matters and possibly a different person for your healthcare.
  2. Living Will or healthcare directives. This document explains to the healthcare provider what treatment you want, if any, in the case of your incapacitation and inability to express your wishes yourself. Without this document, the doctor in charge has all the control …right down to the pajamas you’re wearing.
  3. HIPPA Release Form. You must declare who want to be able to discuss your healthcare, including getting status reports, if they are not the named power of attorney for healthcare. This is incredibly important for BFFs, besties, children, and other loved ones.
  4. A Will. Do you want your heirloom ring to go to your son, daughter, niece, nephew, grand kid, or best friend? You better say so and do it in a way that legally binds your survivors.
  5. A Living Trust. This is one document you need to research as you may not need it if your estate is small enough to escape the probate process. Do your homework. Check your state laws. If you have property in two states, speak to a certified estate planning attorney to discover how to handle the disposition of assets legally.

EP_familyI can speak from personal experience how money can make good, faithful people do outlandish, and even criminal, things. It’s very sad, tragic, and destructive. It can all be avoided if you do the responsible thing and handle your estate and last wishes yourself and in compliance with the laws governing your state.

My heart goes out to Prince and his family. I pray they navigate these turbulent waters without a nightmarish outcome.

Remember, it’s your money, your rules, your way.

Money Savvy Woman, Inc. © 2016

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Reframe Your Pain RIGHT NOW with One Simple Step

ReframeI don’t have a lot of time, but I just wanted to bang this one out to you as adversity seems to have hit so many recently.

Life isn’t easy. Yeah, I know you already know that. But I just feel compelled to talk to you about it a bit.

To coin the cliché, “it’s what we make it” is so true. So I want to ask you…

What are the most important things to you in your life …the one you’re living right now? You’re REAL life. Is it really your money? Your stuff? (That big screen? The coffee maker (well, in my case, maybe the coffee maker), your clothes, shoes, car?

I don’t think so. I get caught up with the rest of society going for my “goals.” But when I look at the list before me, not many are really stuff. My goal list looks like this:

  • Take a road trip up Pacific Coast Hwy 1 to see our beautiful coast and visit family and friends all the up to Canada
  • Visit my family in Florida, my aunt isn’t getting any younger
  • Visit my family in Wisconsin as I haven’t seen them in 10 years!
  • Go to Oregon to …can you guess? Yeah, visit my cousin and bestie from high school
  • Visit my family in the U.K. and see more sites we missed the last time
  • Visit our friends in Germany …we want to see more of their beautiful country and the links to my heritage
  • Hit the French country side & take some cooking lessons
  • Go to Perugia, Umbria, and Tuscany in Italy …cooking lessons 😀
  • Take a Mediterranean cruise by sailboat of Greece
  • Visit all the islands in the Caribbean

The goals that are needs are:

  • Buy a new car (we need one in the next year or so)
  • Remodel the master bath, it’s sorely in need of some TLC
  • Remodel the kitchen … same thing, it’s dated by 30 years
  • Save for retirement

According to this well-thought out goals list, nothing else matters. When life throws me a curve ball, it’s the memories of time spent with family and friends that gets me through it. In my mind’s eye, I see their love for me, their own survival when the sh*t (just being real) hits the fan, and the encouragement for me to remember, “This too shall pass.”

Life IS what we make it. We need to slow down, take a few deep breaths, look for the miracle or lesson in what’s happening right now, and turn our trials and tribulations into life lessons and wisdom we can apply to ourselves and share if need be. I don’t know about you, but I’m so much happier when I’m learning than when I’m stubbornly waiting for something to end.

Life is an experience …it truly IS what we make it. It’s a journey, adventure, and miraculous thing. We can frame it anyway we like.

In less days than I can count on two hands, I get to visit with an Aunt who turned 90 years old yesterday. How blessed am I to have an aunt that “seasoned.” One who loves me, gets me, and always has love in her heart. When I spoke to her yesterday, she requested that we not get any gifts as the gift she truly wants is to SEE us, to HUG us, and to SPEND TIME with us, “so be prepared to hang out” with her and the 50 other people coming to celebrate with her.

What a gift to me her perspective is. It’s not about stuff, it’s all about LOVE.

So when it comes to money, keep it all in perspective. If you have a little or a lot of it, you still need to make decisions about what to do with it. Keep in mind what truly is important and the fluff will fall away.

Young happy woman converting the word impossible to possible. Positive thinking and success concept

I love you. I pray for you to have all you need and want. If I can help you get better at it, I’m here for you. And, if you’re struggling, let me remind you that…

You’ve got this! You can do it. Just keep what matters most to you in front of you and align your thoughts and actions with that. When things blow apart, reach for what matters most, and find a way to live, love, and learn.

Remember, it’s your money, your rules, your way!

Money Savvy Woman, Inc. © 2016

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3 Steps to Take Now To Put Yourself First Without Guilt

I know! Yes! It can be done …and you’ll see how it makes sense once I explain myself.

First, when I say “selfish,” I’m talking about the resistance to take care of ourselves FIRST because we feel it’s a selfish move. However, nothing could be further from the truth.

When I look at all the biblical references about money, they all point to the responsible management of it leading to an accumulation of wealth. And at that point, we are charged as God-loving people, to do what is responsible and right.

Now that last phrase means different things in difference cultures, and I want to be TOTALLY respectful of that. But truthfully, the Lord does not expect us to suffer from lack. He intends for us to prosper. Read more

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The Power of the Time-Out

TRUE CONFESSIONS! Years ago, when I was fresh out of college, I had difficulty controlling my fear, anxiety, and anger. And when it came to feeling anger, I’d made some pretty stupid choices and knew I needed to get some help. Fortunately for me, someone was kind enough to share the “practice the pause” method of staying calm, cool, and collected. I’ve used this tactic for decades and it’s a great way to control negative emotions that can steal our joy, happiness, and contentment.

The steps taught to me were simple, easy to remember, and I put them into practice immediately. In fact, I never looked back. The more I used it, it became easier and easier to stop …take a breath, and continue without even getting angry, let alone, losing my temper.

But, it’s true power was revealed while at the deathbed of my first husband. The feelings of loss and sadness bubbled up. Instinctively, I asked myself, “What is really going on here?” And in a moment, it all rushed in …”Richard is finally in heaven, whole, happy, without pain or struggle. He’d never have to stick himself again with a needle!” My mind raced with all the good that had actually happened in the last five seconds. And then it hit me, “what if he’s on the ceiling looking down on me and my friend before he leaves us?” And that was it. I knew those moments would be gone for forever. I thanked him for our marriage, and for my step daughters. I promised to love and care for them as best I could. And asked him to say, “Hi!” to those I’d already lost here on earth, but were up there in Heaven. As crazy as all this sounds, the specialness and rareness of those moments impacted me as one of the greatest blessings of my life.

I began to pause when the feeling struck me that what was happening in the immediate present was important, impactful, and something I didn’t want to forget. Practicing the pause in this way has made my life feel richer, more balanced, and calm.

It wasn’t until recently when I saw a post on Facebook saying, “Practice the Pause,” that I felt compelled to share my gratitude for this simple practice.

To practice the pause to control negativity, simply follow these steps:

  1. STOP yourself long enough to get still. Stop moving (step into a restroom if you must). Stop thinking.
  2. BREATHE deeply for five or six breaths to calm, center, and ground yourself.
  3. ASK yourself, “What’s really happening here?” This is a good time to pray, “Lord, help me to see with clarity what is really happening here.” Then, pause to objectively look at the scene as an observer.
  4. ASSESS the situation and draw your conclusions.
  5. TAKE action to move ahead (or at least get out of the bathroom!) while praising God for fast answers to prayer, keeping you calm, and bolstering your mood.

However, there’s a flipside to this little method. You can do so much more with it when you use it to enjoy where you are. Anytime while taking a break, practice the pause. It’s slightly different, but much the same.

  1. STOP yourself long enough to get still. Stop moving. Stop thinking.
  2. BREATHE deeply for five or six breaths to calm, center, and ground yourself.
  3. ASK yourself, “What gifts are right in front of me?” This is where you can pray, “Lord, help me to see with clarity what gifts I’m taking for granted.”
  4. ASSESS what you can be grateful for.
  5. GIVE THANKS and praise God for all He’s granted you.

You’ll find more beauty, grace, and joy in the world when you practice the pause. It gives you the opportunity to respond vs. react, to be fully present vs. blindly moving through life missing some of the greatest stuff.

Anger, amongst other emotions, can be a real downer, not only for the one feeling angry, but for those surrounding, near, or next to them. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are so many options available, ranging from highly focused, individual therapy to self-help books. My personal favorite that I’ve found to help many friends and clients is The Anger Workout Book (btw, that’s a link to buy the workbook if learning to control your anger is something you need to do. If you decide to purchase it, I get a few cents. Just sayin’).

Take control of your emotions by practicing the pause and giving yourself the time and space to acknowledge and address, with clarity, what your response should be.

You can do it. I believe in you!

Money Savvy Woman, Inc. © 2015

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Can You See the Forest for the Trees? Unlock Your Fortune!

091715_1441_CanYouSeeth1.jpg“I can’t see the forest for the trees!” she yelped at me, “but sometimes I just don’t care, because the forest isn’t that bad.”

“That bad?” Really?

Can you relate? Are you creating a financial forest that you can’t find your way through? Are you tolerating fear and confusion? If so, here are three simple steps to help you see your path more clearly.

  1. Figure out where you’re at right now. Track your spending so you know where you’re spending your money. Do it for a full month. (Dollarbird.co is a great resource for this.)
  2. Divide your expenditures into three categories: Needs, Wants, and Wishes, once you know what you’re spending your money on.. This makes it easy to prioritize in the future.
  3. Create a budget using a simple spreadsheet or using an app like YNAB or Mint.com. I like YNAB because of their philosophies on money management and how easy it is to get out of the month-to-month, paycheck-to-paycheck cycle when you commit yourself. Mint.com is wonderful in that you can see your full, financial picture if you enter all the data. Both go from desktop to mobile.

One of the things I love about YNAB, is that they get you thinking about how you WANT to make your financial goals happen, getting you to discipline yourself for all the right reasons. “Have to” is seldom fun. So change it to, “get to.” Try it out …repeat after me:

“I have to save for a rainy day.” How did that feel? I don’t want to put words in your mouth, but I can bet you don’t feel like running out and saving for anything, haha.

Now say, “I get to save for a rainy day.” How did that feel? A bit better, huh?

PonderWhen we have to do something, for me, the “have to” takes the joy out of it. But when I change one word, the “get to,” again for me, feels empowering, more hopeful, and more of a challenge I want to take on.

Use the “I get to save for…” phrase when taking aim at your goals. A positive, motivated mindset will help keep you on the path towards financial success while still enjoying the journey.

Seeing the forest and the trees is what I want for you. Imagine if you could see your clearly defined path amidst the beauty of the forest? Now you know where you’re going. The safety of the path enables you to enjoy the forest. The fear of making a misstep fades as you remain on the path. And the speed at which you travel is simply a decision you get to make; you can take your time or you can hustle.

Money is much the same way. Once you’ve taken the time to carve your path toward financial independence, fear, anxiety, and confusion fade away, and confidence, commitment, and success soon take their place.

HarMoney™ doesn’t have to be hard. I can help you make it simple.

Remember, it’s your money, your rules, your way!