Second Chances: The Importance of Post-Mortem Planning

Lindsay Jacobsen
November 06, 2018

In addition to articulating the deceased’s intentions for the distribution of their assets, an ideal estate plan considers the many unknowns that are difficult to anticipate before death, like taxes and estate liquidity—not to mention family and business complexities.

Let’s face it: the term “post-mortem planning” can be confusing. On one hand, it could sound as if everything can be accomplished after death, with little need for planning during life. On the other hand, it can be easy to assume that post-mortem planning really only encompasses a few small steps—for example, filing a final tax return or writing a few checks to cover remaining expenses.

The truth is that post-mortem planning comprises an essential, yet challenging part of the overall estate planning process. In addition to articulating the deceased’s intentions for the distribution of their assets, an ideal estate plan considers the many unknowns that are difficult to anticipate before death, like taxes and estate liquidity—not to mention family and business complexities. In many cases, these uncertainties mean that there are more decisions to be made after death than while drafting the plan, which can create a host of potential conflicts.

While post-mortem decisions can be complex—and their implications for an estate significant—one of the easier decisions you can make is to name an executor or co-executor during the estate planning stage who is up to the task of making such important decisions. Other steps may not be as straightforward.

You can learn more about the challenges of post-mortem planning—and strategies that can be used to address them as part of a flexible and efficient estate plan—in the Fall 2018 edition of The Advisor by listening to the audio excerpt below or speaking with your advisor.

Lindsay Jacobsen is an estate administrator specializing in post-death trust and estate administration for CIBC Private Wealth Management, with 10 years of industry experience.