Matthew, Mary, O'Brien, the Dowager Countess and the Earl of Grantham are names that people in Nevada may recognize well. Each of these people is a fictional character on the hit television show Downton Abbey. The drama details the doings of the Crawley family and their servants. However, at least one authority notes that the show can offer estate planning lessons in the real world as well.
One of the reasons that people in Nevada enter into the estate planning process is to ensure that their assets are protected for the benefit of future generations. To achieve this goal, many find it helpful to use estate planning tools such as a will or trust. By using a will for example, a person, like the Earl, could make a specific bequest to an individual such as Bates his footman.
The use of a trust could also act to protect the family assets. In the fictional drama the Crawley's lose much of their fortune when the Earl makes a bad investment. However, had a trust been put in place through the estate planning process, the appointed trustee may have been able to stop the fatal transaction. By using available tools, the family may well be able to keep the large estate running for generations to come.
Though most people in Nevada do not have an estate the size of that of the fictional family the Crawleys, many have assets that they wish to protect or distribute to future generations. When this is the case, the individual entering into estate planning may wish to review the applicable laws to ensure that their outcome is better than that of the fictional Crawley family. This will lead to happier outcomes for all.
Source: The Wall Street Journal, "3 retirement and estate-planning lessons from 'Downton Abbey'," Glenn Ruffenachif, March 4, 2013