Off on a business trip!
A few years ago, I was talking with a friend of mine. He had previously been an executive in a large corporation, and for several years had been the CEO of his successful startup. He mentioned that every time he went on a business trip, his wife became anxious. She always said, “What will I do if anything happens to you?”
Despite his assuring her that everything would be OK, that flying was very safe, etc., she just couldn’t stop worrying.
I confessed to him that I had the same situation. My wife was always very tense when I left on a business trip, with very similar concerns.
I knew, of course, that neither my friend nor I were exceptions. This happens in many families – when one of the partners is about to leave on a business trip, the other partner becomes anxious.
Why is my partner so concerned?
One of the primary reasons why partners are concerned is rooted in their own words: “What would I do without you?”
Obviously, losing one’s partner is one of the most dramatic events that can happen in a person’s life. But there is an additional factor that contributes to that concern, and it is very pragmatic. It’s about the ability to survive financially without the partner.
I know, some people might ask, isn’t that too materialistic? Of course, we’re not saying that the financial concern should be the primary one. But we must admit that it exists, and quite often the reasons are not even materialistic, however it looks on the surface.
Most healthy families feel strong responsibilities towards their children. This is reflected in providing good education, buying clothes and food, spending enough quality time with the children, and providing a comfortable standard of living to ensure a happy childhood and acceptance by their peers.
All this can be severely threatened if one of the partners suddenly passes away. This is a very real and present fear, and it’s not rooted so much in materialism as in the fear of not being able to maintain the quality of life of the family.
How to deal with that?
While there is no real solution to completely avoiding this situation, there are several things you can do to mitigate the consequences to a very large extent.
Life insurance is a great way to mitigate that risk. It ensures that the family members designated as beneficiaries will receive the policy payout in the case of a fatal event happening to the policy owner.
Life insurances have one significant drawback, though. If your family members are not aware of the existence of the insurance, or have lost or forgotten the details, they might never get the payout.
The reason is that the insurance companies are not required by law to inform the family members about the payout, even if they have their contact details and know that the policy owner has passed away. And unfortunately, many companies do not contact the beneficiaries, resulting in billions staying unclaimed in insurance companies.
Digital inheritance is a great way to ensure that if anything happens to you, your loved ones will be informed about your digital and financial assets and will be able to identify and locate them.
Digital inheritance services also eliminate the need for the family members to remember the access details. The services detect unforeseen events and proactively inform the family members. A great way to ensure that your money will go to your family!
Still, digital inheritance services are not perfect. They don’t (yet) have the legal power of a real will. You solve the problem of ensuring that your family members will be aware of your assets and their location, but while this is of great value, it’s not a legally binding will.
Estate Planning – traditional will and trusts
Estate planning is the old, traditional way of managing inheritance. While it ensures, to a maximum extent, compliance with the local legislation, it has many problems and pitfalls. Let’s review these:
- It’s expensive.
Oh yes! It can be very expensive indeed.
- It’s very time-consuming.
Be prepared to allocate a fair amount of time to your estate planning.
- Estate planning can’t protect assets in different geographies.
Nowadays, people possess assets in different states or countries. This makes it impossible to create an estate plan that protects all your digital and financial assets. The reason is that estate planning is limited to assets in specific areas, e.g., California, or Germany, or France. Even the best attorney can’t create an estate plan that applies in different states and countries as the legislation is very different.
- Estate plans do not provide protection for dynamically changing assets.
Estate planning was useful years ago when people had predominantly static assets, often in one geography. These days, people have company stocks, employees in tech companies have stock options and RSUs, angel investors have company shares, investors have equity. People have many and diverse assets, which change constantly. It’s unrealistic to expect that every six months or once a year you’ll go to your attorneys to update your estate plan.
So what is the best way to protect my assets?
Every problem has a solution. We would recommend a combination of the following solutions:
- Digital inheritance
To ensure that your loved ones will be aware of your digital and financial assets and be able to identify and locate them.
- Life insurance
The insurance payout will help your family to maintain their quality of life.
- Estate planning
If your assets are predominantly in one geography, then estate planning is definitely a good option for you, in addition to your digital inheritance and life insurance.
It will ensure, to a maximum extent, that your assets, located in that specific geography, will be inherited by your loved ones, per your specific preferences and terms.