Estate Planning Lessons from ‘Game of Thrones’

Estate Planning Lessons from ‘Game of Thrones’

All men must die.

For fans of ‘Game of Thrones,’ the show’s cavalcade of deaths over six seasons offers a practical guide to the do’s and don’ts of succession planning. The (spoiler alert) deaths of Ned Stark, Joffrey Baratheon and countless others provide an interesting peek into the aftermath of sudden death and the benefits of planning for the unexpected.

  1. Help your clients make periodic inventories of their assets. It will save time and frustration later on. Daenerys Targaryen, the last living Targaryen, may be cash poor but she has collected some valuable assets along the way, not the least of which are her dragons.    
  2. Do not let your clients write their own wills.  It is too easy to make a costly mistake. In Robert Baratheon’s case, Ned Stark replaces “my son Joffrey” with my heir because the King’s eldest son is actually a bastard and the result is a struggle for the throne that costs thousands of lives.  
  3. A will is not an estate plan. Consider advising clients to establish trusts for their children to make sure they are taken care of. Had Ned Stark done so before he died, his daughters Sansa and Ayra would have at least been financially secure.
  4. Name successor trustees in case something happens to the original one.  Look what happened in Ned Stark’s family. His widow Catelyn was responsible for their children after Ned died. But when she and Robb Stark died at the red wedding there was no one to look after the remaining Stark children or their assets.
  5. Designate your children’s guardian in writing. In Season 2, Lady Catelyn Stark asks Brienne of Tarth to look after her daughters but never puts anything in writing. This causes all sorts of problems in Season 4.
  6. Blended families have extra issues. Advisers should encourage open communications and careful estate planning for these families. Previous spouses and stepchildren may have little in common with each other and all hell can break when the person who links them dies. Just look at what happened to the Starks.

For more information, please read:
Sixteen Estate-Planning Lessons from ‘Game of Thrones’ | Wealth Management

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