This serialized, fictional account about Dave and his family has been created to offer a glimpse of what happens after a family member dies and what should be considered when writing your will and planning for your estate. Each chapter details some of the real-life situations often encountered by our clients, and we encourage you to follow the entire story to better understand the complexities of this fictional case.
“Have you found anything yet?” asked Emily, looking over Dave’s shoulder at the laptop screen.
“Nothing so far,” said Dave. “I’m still sorting through Dad’s personal business records. Unfortunately, his computer is as disorganized as his house.”
“How is his bookkeeping?” asked Emily.
“Luckily, he was using an accounting program, so everything looks pretty clear. I’m just wondering if he had this backed up somewhere?”
“Your father was a very stubborn man at times. I wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t.”
“Me neither.” Dave paused for a second. “You know, Emily, this has been a real eye-opener. I want to make sure our affairs are in order for Maddy. What if something were to happen to us?”
“I’ve been thinking about that a lot, too. Until you have to sort through an estate it’s really hard to comprehend how complex this is.”
Dave’s cell phone rang, startling them both. Dave picked it up to see who was calling.
“It’s the attorney.”
“That’s odd,” said Emily. “You just met with him yesterday.”
“I’ve got some great news, Dave,” began the attorney after a quick greeting.
“We like good news,” replied Dave. He smiled at Emily.
“It turns out that those shares of stock are still good. The company had been bought by another quite a long time ago, so it can be a bit of a challenge to assess their current value, but from what I can tell, it’s looking like those one hundred shares are worth in somewhere in the tens of thousands.”
“You’re kidding! That’s great news! I wonder why dad had stuck the certificate in an old tackle box?”
“Well, there was a long period where the company was still in business, but the stock value had declined so much that he rightly assessed that his shares were practically worthless. But a lot can change over time.”
“So, what happens now?” What should we do with the stocks?”
“I’m going to recommend a local financial planner who deals with this sort of thing. She can give you advice on what to do and fill you in on what taxes will need to be paid.”
“Great. This is good news. I can’t wait to tell the family.”
“I’ll have her call you this week and you both can take it from there. But there is one other reason I am calling, Dave. Can you tell me a bit about your father’s consulting business?”
“I don’t know much, but I can tell you what I know. He started consulting to help make ends meet after he was forced into early retirement. New companies would hire him to help with setting up their manufacturing.”
“And he set this consulting company up as an S corporation, correct?”
“I believe he did. Does this matter?”
“It could. Let me do a little more research and give you a call later this week.”
“Okay. I look forward to your call.”
“Well that’s some great news!” exclaimed Emily when Dave had filled her in on what the attorney had said about the shares of stock. “But what was he asking about your father’s business?”
“I think he mainly wanted to know if dad’s business was set up as an S corporation.”
“Hmm. I wonder why…” Emily voice trailed off as she became lost in thought. Suddenly, her eyes lit up. “Of course!” she exclaimed.
“What is it?” asked Dave.
“Let me take a look at your father’s laptop.”