Introducing Legacy Family Planning | 2 of 5: My Story
My name is Cindy Arledge, MBA, 2 time best selling author. When my parents passed away within eight months of each other I became an orphan at the age of 46. Although it is a natural part of the cycle of life to bury your parents, it doesn’t matter how old you are when you lose them, it is a traumatic life event. The greater your daily life is impacted, the greater your grief will be. For me, having worked in the family business from the age of 13, my life was turned upside down and inside out.
After they were gone, I quickly discovered how unprepared I was to live life without them. And, I wasn’t alone. My siblings, struggling with their own issues, and I found ourselves in an abyss of broken relationships that left me confused, lost, and heartbroken. Our experience was neither uncommon nor new.
“You don’t really know someone
until you share an inheritance with them.”
--Paraphrasing Johann Kaspar Lavater,
a German Theologian born in 1741
Because we were unprepared to receive our inheritance, and our ability to communicate and trust each other was nonexistent, we unleashed a dark monster I now know as the Cur$e of Inheritance.
The Cur$e of Inheritance is an ugly monster of jealousy, fear, and selfishness that crushes families, eats money, and destroys lives. The Cur$e of Inheritance is born in an environment of loss and grief, to unprepared heirs who feel entitled to unearned wealth and tragically forget to see each other as human beings.
Both my parents were Depression babies. They knew what it was like to do without, and worked hard to create a better life for us. Following the best advice available to them at the time, they set up a maze of legal documents to create an elaborate estate plan.
Unfortunately, dad was afraid of losing control of his assets and refused to fully follow his attorney’s advice. He was aware that his deviation from the plan would create a large tax liability and apologized more than once to me. I never worried about it, because I never saw his money as my money. I didn’t realize, until it was too late, that it would be my responsibility to gather the funds and co-sign the $1,833,385.12 check to pay the estate taxes.
We faced another challenge with my parents’ estate. Dad changed his will twice after my Mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, but because of her diagnosis, she could not update her will to match his. This resulted in their estate plans becoming incompatible for the grandchildren’s portions of their estates. To settle the estate, commercial real estate from the grandchildren’s trusts needed to be sold. In my desire to honor my parent’s wishes, I violated my personal value system and borrowed millions of dollars to purchase the real estate so my children would receive the inheritance my parents wanted them to receive. The timing could not have been worse. The purchase was completed a few months before the Crash of 2008 that crippled the U.S. economy. Ouch!
Ultimately what destroyed my family was my father’s decision to remove several family members from his will following a disagreement. It didn’t matter that the family members Dad kept in his will were not responsible for his decision. It also made no difference that everyone received a generous inheritance from Mom’s estate. Once the Cur$e of Inheritance was unleashed, it ravaged our family.
While I struggled with my inheritance issues, I asked questions. In my quest for answers, I discovered the three generational cycle of wealth loss and realized my family was just another sad statistic. Then it dawned on me, “Who is successful, and what do they do differently?” “How do they successfully transfer wealth, generation after generation?” When I became a grandmother, I became relentless in my pursuit to protect my family’s future. I had found a better way and implemented the secret tools I had discovered. I was transformed from orphan to matriarch of the family .
Now, it’s your turn. Through the eyes of someone who has lived through the Cur$e, our nation is facing a tragedy of epic proportions that most people have yet to recognize.
The American family is clueless to the greatest threat it has ever faced:
The Cur$e of Inheritance.
What you don’t know can and will hurt you and your family. It’s time to discover the secret tool used by the most successful families to protect your family so they won’t be broke, bitter, and blaming you. Are you an Avoider, Acceptor, or Anticipator? Click here to download your free Estate Planning Pyramid Assessment.