“I don’t care what you have to do son, even if that means dragging me out of a nursing home, but every year, make sure I’m at the Indy 500! As long as you do that, I’ll always pay for your tickets.” So, every year during May, Dad and I make it a point to spend as much time together as possible at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It’s one of our time-honored family traditions.
Each year, I remind Dad of that comment he made to me when I was a kid, and we get a good laugh out of it (this year’s 100th running of the “500” marks my 25th, and my father’s 51st, year in attendance). This year, however, those words resonated even more as I pushed Dad through the stands in his wheel chair.
As we discussed this year’s sold out race (and exorbitant ticket prices), Dad made a very good point, “I bet some of those people selling ‘their’ tickets have been in the family for generations; and, I bet the parents are rolling in their graves knowing the kids are out to make a quick buck.” Point taken—I knew exactly what he meant.
Enter the Estate Planner.
I explained to Dad that there are ways to prevent such a thing. I told him that, though he’s the holder of race tickets (the ticket is a license to use the seat), he’s not the actual owner (the Speedway is), which means that he can’t pass them down through his will or a trust. However, if he wanted to make sure the tickets were kept “in the family,” he could do so.
Each ticket holder has a one-time right to transfer the tickets to another person. So Dad will need to pick someone he trusts (can be a Power of Attorney), and transfer his interest in the tickets to that person to see to it that the tickets are always properly reclaimed each year (however, just name one transferee, and kids don’t fight over the tickets, or the Speedway simply will not reissue them to any of you).
That person he trusts—let’s call them the trustee! His Estate Plan can actually set up a trust to endure after his death, and he can direct a sum of money to pass to that trust, which the trustee can use to purchase the tickets every year. At that point, the trustee can then give the tickets out to the people Dad has chosen, and whom the trustee knows will use and enjoy them (the trust beneficiaries)! Not to worry Dad, your race tickets will never be seen as a mere tool to make a quick buck—your great children can someday sit in the same seats you did—presumably pushing me there in the wheelchair!
That’s what estate planning is all about—finding out what’s important to each and every person, and accomplishing those very goals. I always make it a point to try and discover these little details out—like meaningful time-honored family traditions, when consulting with folks.
I get it—people don’t generally come see me thinking that discussing their stuff, their beneficiaries, and their ultimate demise will be an exhilarating experience. However, after you cut through that dark cloud that can initially loom when beginning the estate planning process, there are many more colorful conversations, and outcomes, that are just waiting to be accomplished. The people I work with take great satisfaction knowing that their plan lays the groundwork for continuing [insert that family tradition you want to see carried on here].
And not to worry Dad, if you ever do need skilled nursing care, I’ve got you covered. Proper Estate Planning protects you and your stuff, so you’ll still be able to afford and pay for those race tickets!
~ Kyle Allen, Attorney