Our “Off The Wall” Blog
is now Monument #Unfiltered

Subscribe below to receive our unique, straight-forward, unfiltered wealth advice delivered straight to your inbox.

Where Money Can Go When You Die

Where Money Can Go When You Die

Death, taxes, and your cash.

Given the current environment, a lot of people ask me, “Dave, what do you think is going to happen with the fiscal cliff?”

My response: I have no idea.

Seriously. And neither do you or anyone else writing about the subject. I don’t think President Obama knows either. And really, is Washington’s decisive moment going to answer every question about your financial future? Most likely not.

Here’s what I do know. You are going to die. Someday.

So what does that mean? Plan for it and plan for it now. At its core, it can be a very simple project. Start with the money you have, and decide where you want it to go because the reality is your money can only go to one of four places during your life and after you are gone.

That’s right, four places. Here are your options:

You can spend it.

Shocking I know, but you have heard people jokingly say they want to “die broke.” What they are saying is that they actually want to spend all of their money during their lifetime and have nothing left over to give to the three remaining places that money can go. It’s a good strategy and requires some planning because the downside, of course, is that you go broke before you die. Making some assumptions and having a solid financial plan in place can lower the probability of this happening.

You give it to family.

This is the obvious choice and usually the most popular. It’s also misunderstood. While you can choose to give your money to your family either during your life or after you die, it’s easier to do it while alive. This is especially true this year. Under current (2012) legislation, a person can give $13,000 per year tax-free to anyone he or she chooses. That means a married couple can gift $26,000 per year to any one person tax-free. Additionally, the current law allows for $5,120,000 per person as a lifetime limit, meaning a couple can gift over $10 million. It’s easy to see how quickly a plan can be implemented to get tax-exempt money to family under current legislation.

You can give it to charity.

Again, like giving money to family, this can be done during or after your lifetime. Remember that while gifting money to a charity can be a big tax savings in addition to making you feel good, it obviously lowers the amount of money that will be left over to go to family. Again, proper planning is essential in order to strike a balance if necessary.

You can give it to the government in taxes.

We all pay taxes while we are alive, that’s obvious. What’s not so obvious is that the government can come in and take a huge bite out of your estate after you die. This is where your money goes if you have a lot of it and you fail to spend it all or plan for it to go to family or charity before you die.

Most people choose to spend their money in combination with gifting to family and charity rather than choosing to “gift” it to the government (if that’s your favorite option, your best investment may be in a good therapist).

Any way you slice it, and regardless of net worth, having a good plan for where the money goes during and after your life is a good idea and a simple exercise.

Control the things you can control. Having a plan is one of the most important things you can do for yourself and your family.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendation for individual. To determine which investment is appropriate please consult your financial advisor prior to investing. All performance referenced is historical and is not guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and may not be invested into directly.

Get Monument #Unfiltered: Our Free Private Wealth Newsletter

Our no B.S. wealth advice delivered 2x per month, max. Tuned specifically for busy, high-net-worth business professionals and investors who want straightforward advice without the fluff.

David B. photo

David B. Armstrong, CFA

President & Co-Founder

Dave got into the industry when he discovered his passion for finance in his mid-20’s. He’s a combat veteran and served as an officer in the United States Marines Corps on both active duty and in the reserves, retiring at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. While serving on active duty, Dave was unable to spend money on deployments, so he became a self-taught investor. Along with a few bucks cash as a bouncer, his investing performance grew to be good....

Learn more ...


Please remember that past performance is no guarantee of future results.  Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by Monument Capital Management, LLC [“Monument”]), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this blog will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful.  Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions.  Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this blog serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from Monument. To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing. No amount of prior experience or success should be construed that a certain level of results or satisfaction will be achieved if Monument is engaged, or continues to be engaged, to provide investment advisory services. Monument is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of the blog content should be construed as legal or accounting advice.

A copy of Monument’s current written disclosure Brochure discussing our advisory services and fees is available for review upon request or at www.monumentwealthmanagement.com/disclosures. Please Note: Monument does not make any representations or warranties as to the accuracy, timeliness, suitability, completeness, or relevance of any information prepared by any unaffiliated third party, whether linked to Monument’s website or blog or incorporated herein, and takes no responsibility for any such content. All such information is provided solely for convenience purposes only and all users thereof should be guided accordingly.

Historical performance results for investment indices, benchmarks, and/or categories have been provided for general informational/comparison purposes only, and generally do not reflect the deduction of transaction and/or custodial charges, the deduction of an investment management fee, nor the impact of taxes, the incurrence of which would have the effect of decreasing historical performance results.  It should not be assumed that your Monument account holdings correspond directly to any comparative indices or categories. Please Also Note: (1) performance results do not reflect the impact of taxes; (2) comparative benchmarks/indices may be more or less volatile than your Monument accounts; and, (3) a description of each comparative benchmark/index is available upon request.

Please Remember: If you are a Monument client, please contact Monument, in writing, if there are any changes in your personal/financial situation or investment objectives for the purpose of reviewing/evaluating/revising our previous recommendations and/or services, or if you would like to impose, add, or to modify any reasonable restrictions to our investment advisory services.  Unless, and until, you notify us, in writing, to the contrary, we shall continue to provide services as we do currently. Please Also Remember to advise us if you have not been receiving account statements (at least quarterly) from the account custodian.