The X’s & O’s

Many people don’t realize how crucial it is to have a thoughtful and intentional estate plan in place. This plan addresses how you want your assets passed down, who is able to make decisions for you if you become incapacitated, and much more. Brent, Matthew, and Joshua talk about the basic components of an estate plan and some tips for maintaining the plan once it’s established.

The Hosts:

Brent Pasqua, Matthew Theal and Joshua Winterswyk



Brent Pasqua: Hey everybody. We welcome you in to the Retirement Plan Playbook. I think we have a great show for you today. Today we’re going to be talking about what is an estate plan. It’s a question that so many people have. But before we get started, the group is all here, Brent, Matthew, Joshua, we’re all with you today. Matt, you’ve got some big news for us today. Want to fill us in?

Matthew Theal: Yeah, so at the beginning of the month, end of August, I had a baby, or my wife had a baby. So I’m a new dad now, which is very, very exciting, and I’m very much in love with my daughter and very happy that everything went smoothly. And my wife handled the labor really well, so very excited.

Brent Pasqua: Do you feel like a new person over the last month now?

Matthew Theal: Yeah, I’m very relaxed now. I was pretty intense leading up to it, pretty stressed out. I don’t know if it was the process or the fear of what could go wrong, but it’s really peaceful now.

Brent Pasqua: That is great. We congratulate you and we’re excited for you, and I know you’re excited to have a little one.

Joshua Winterswyk: I’m excited for you, Matt. Congratulations to you and your wife. I know you’ve been looking forward to this. I’m glad to hear everything went well. You do seem a little bit more relaxed, which is nice with working with you. So thanks to your baby, I like the new Matt.

Matthew Theal: Thanks. Yeah, everything that I thought was important before her birth is now a lot less important, so that’s a good thing.

Yeah, and after going through two labors with my wife, I know the stress that comes with leading up to it and the anxiety. It’s just such a big relief when you get a healthy baby. It’s a true blessing, it really is.

Matthew Theal: Yeah, and a healthy wife too-

Brent Pasqua: Absolutely.

Matthew Theal: Comes out from it, good and able.

Brent Pasqua: Yeah. It’s just not a very simple process. It’s a process that there’s a lot to it. Alright. Well, let’s get into the headlines. What is Nikola, and who is Trevor Milton? This has been a big story over the last couple of weeks. Nikola is a manufacturing startup company who manufactures electronic components, driver trains, vehicles, electric semi-trucks, but the company really has had zero revenue to this point. All the money has come from investors, and it actually went public this year. But some big news dropped last week when the founder, Trevor Milton, was actually arrested. Matthew, why don’t you start and tell us a little bit more?

Matthew Theal: Was he actually arrested? I don’t think he was.

Joshua Winterswyk: I don’t know if he was either.

Matthew Theal: Yeah, I don’t think he was arrested.

Brent Pasqua: There was all the headlines of he was arrested but he was never formally.

Joshua Winterswyk: He’s being investigated. He has a formal investigation against him right now.

Brent Pasqua: Got you.

Matthew Theal: Yeah, it’s one of those things, I think, where they come and pick them up, but they didn’t actually put the cuffs on, like Law and Order SVU or something like that.

Brent Pasqua: They put him in a nice car, chauffeured him off somewhere.

Matthew Theal: No, super interesting story. To give everyone an idea, they’re trying to be the Tesla of semi-trucks. The only problem is they haven’t created anything yet. So their whole goal is to make semi-trucks powered by batteries and hydrogen fuel cells, and they created a prototype of a truck and did a big Tesla, Apple-like unveiling, except the truck doesn’t work. They got a bunch of big investors behind them, General Motors, and then a couple of other large corporations as well as large venture capitalists. And then a short-selling firm, short-sellers do a bunch of research and they bet against companies, came out with a research report and called the company a fraud, which seems to be pretty true when you do some digging.

Matthew Theal: And their main argument was basically like, “Hey, they’ve misled everybody about their technology. There’s nothing really there. They have no real deals with any companies.” And then there’s even some video online where I guess they tried to show the truck working, but all they did was push it downhill.

Brent Pasqua: Yeah, it couldn’t propel itself. Well, roll it. They said they have new trucks now. I think that video is from like 2018, though. Right? Isn’t that what the report said?

Joshua Winterswyk: It said they have trucks now that actually can propel themselves forward.

Matthew Theal: That’s what they’re claiming, but, I mean, again, can you really trust these guys? It sounds like Theranos all over again.

Brent Pasqua: I guess what he was in jail for, right, was he took out $70 million out of the company before the company even had any money.

Matthew Theal: Oh, so he took the investor’s money?

Brent Pasqua: Yeah, before they’ve even generated any revenue.

Joshua Winterswyk: Even made a dollar.

Brent Pasqua: Yeah, he’s already taking millions of dollars of investor’s money out.

Joshua Winterswyk: I also read, I mean, he stepped down, but there’s clauses in there that he’s still going to get paid as a consultant for like two years from stepping down. This guy just sounds like he has it all under control for himself.

Brent Pasqua: It does very much sound like Theranos and Elizabeth Holmes to me. I don’t know if it’s on that level, but it smells like Theranos. Would you agree?

Matthew Theal: I agree. And the main thing for all of our listeners that I want to get through because you mentioned it’s a publicly-traded company. You could go by their stock. They have a great sounding story, is, be careful, never put more than 5% of your net worth in any individual stock because you never know what could happen.

Brent Pasqua: You know, I think there was probably a red flag from the beginning because I don’t know if you noticed, but I think Tesla’s name was Nikola Tesla when they started. And then this guy came in and named his name after Tesla. It’s like us naming our company Apple Wealth Management. You just don’t take someone else’s rights to their name.

Matthew Theal: Right.

Joshua Winterswyk: It’s all just interesting. And that stock price, what’s crazy, was almost $80 a share. I read one article, they got close to the valuation of Ford, but they haven’t produced a working vehicle yet, which is just wild.

Matthew Theal: Yeah. And then the other thing too, if making a battery-powered semi-truck was possible, don’t you think Elon Musk would be doing it right now?

Brent Pasqua: Yeah. He’d be working on it.

Matthew Theal: Yeah.

Brent Pasqua: The Elizabeth Holmes story was a great podcast if someone has time to go back if you want a great podcast to listen to. I think it was like four or six episodes, something like that, it was a while back. It’s very interesting, I’m assuming this is going to be the next big show that they’re going to be releasing on podcast. I would like to see how this one actually ends.

Matthew Theal: There’s a book, too, and HBO documentary. So you basically get your choice of medium on the Theranos story.

Brent Pasqua: Yeah. Alright, so the second headline, Apple Event, it’s really the world’s most valuable publicly-traded company now, and it’s completely just blown up. The other day, they had the Apple Event. The tech giant unveils a new Apple Watch, so series six, new iPad, new fitness service. Tell us a little bit more about the unveiling, Josh.

Joshua Winterswyk: Yeah. Every year, I think me and Matt, it’s like a little hour holiday work break to watch this Apple Event. We’re just very always interested in it and rightfully so because it’s just such a big position within the U.S. stock market. But the unveiling, looking forward to see if there was a new phone or not, there wasn’t. And typically, in the Apple Events in the fall, or late summer, fall, have a new phone. But they did release the new Apple Watch, which is very focused on health, which we expected, which was really cool, a new iPad.

Joshua Winterswyk: One thing that I was really interested in is they’re launching their own fitness subscription, so they’re going to release videos for fitness just like Peloton does with their bikes. So that was really interesting too, and always just excited to see what new products Apple is coming out with. What new stuff most interests you guys?

Matthew Theal: Well, I’ll just go through the list of everything. One, I really wanted a new phone, so I was a little disappointed there. I haven’t upgraded my phone in two years. You know when your phone starts to not work as good and feels a little slow and clunky?

Brent Pasqua: The battery starts to last not as long throughout the day.

Matthew Theal: Yeah, absolutely, a little slower. I’m at that point. I’m the kind of person who definitely needs a new phone every two years. I know there’s people who would go five years with the same phone. That’s not me. I notice the performance pretty quick. I just bought a new watch, so I’m not really interested in that, though it is becoming a health device on your wrist, which is really cool. Hopefully, they could keep saving people’s lives.

Matthew Theal: I’m really interested in the iPad Air as a new dad. I think that looks like a good device for my wife and I to be able to compute while tending to our child. Fitness Plus is cool, but I just bought a Peloton, so I’m probably going to stick in that ecosystem. The only thing I don’t get about Apple, and this is just an aside, why don’t they just buy Peloton or just buy a fitness startup?

Joshua Winterswyk: That makes a lot of sense.

Matthew Theal: Amazon just partnered with a fitness startup for bikes the other day too. Why don’t they go that way? They always try to build their own product, which is smart. And I know it’s part of their strategy, but I don’t know, it’s going to be hard to launch that fitness service because a lot of these online-based classes is how good the instructors are.

Brent Pasqua: Yeah.

Joshua Winterswyk: Do you really think-

Brent Pasqua: It seems like they’re trying to get their hand in so many things.

Joshua Winterswyk: But I think it goes well with their products. I mean, you have so many users that have so much brand loyalty to Apple, and they’re going out and finding other videos and subscriptions to subscribe to, but their devices are what’s powering the health data. To me, it makes a lot of sense. Why don’t we just launch our own? I do agree, though, because they don’t have any workout machines, or bikes, or nothing like that yet. It would be nice if it all integrated that way. I definitely see that there is opportunity for them, and I’m definitely interested in trying out their Fitness Plus subscription.

Matthew Theal: The one cool thing I’ll say about Fitness Plus is it did look like they had cycling classes and rowing classes, so that would mean you actually don’t need a Peloton or one of those fancy hydro-rowers that people buy. You could buy one with less technology and then just do their class in front of your TV. That’s a cool feature.

Joshua Winterswyk: And whatever the future is, then you just have a bike that has an iPad add-on, and now you have Fitness Plus riding your bike in front of your bike, and you can buy any bike.

Matthew Theal: That’s probably what they’re hoping for. It’s their long-term way to potentially beat Peloton, but it’s just like with Netflix. I mean, Peloton has a whole community or ecosystem created out of it already, so it’s just going to be tough to topple them.

Joshua Winterswyk: Yeah, yeah.

Brent Pasqua: If you haven’t listened to one of the Apple Events, I’d highly recommend it because when they put on these events, it has become such a show. It’s so interesting to see all the things that they’re releasing, how they release them, how they make them. It’s such an interesting few hours if you have to watch one of them.

Joshua Winterswyk: Absolutely.

Brent Pasqua: Alright, let’s get to Retirement Planning Corner. Today we’re going to talk about estate planning, and we’ll talk about, a little bit, the difference between what is an estate plan and what is a living trust. And then, what are some of the items within an estate plan, and what are some important tips as you consider doing an estate plan? Or if you already have one, what should you be thinking about with your existing trust?

Brent Pasqua: The estate plan is really the process of anticipating and arranging a management disbursement of your assets or your estate in the event that something happens to you, you become incapacitated, you pass away. Those assets would then eventually avoid probate. Josh, tell us a little bit about what is in the estate planning process.

Joshua Winterswyk: So with the estate planning process, what we’re really doing is putting together, like you said, arranging and anticipating, during someone’s life, for the management and disposal of that person’s estate. So in the event someone becomes incapacitated or dies, all of your wishes are then already accounting for, meaning if you have assets, if you have personal property. We’re actually taking care of all of those choices before someone dies so your wishes are actually met, and that estate planning process puts all of that together.

Joshua Winterswyk: Just to go into some of the items, I’m just going to dive right into it. A living trust is a part of that estate planning process, a will, a power of attorney. And we’ll get to these in a little bit depth. But just to give you an example of some of the items that go inside of an estate plan through that process, to making sure that little of your assets are managed appropriately, not only while you’re alive, but then, also after we have passed or become incapacitated. And they can transition to the next generation smoothly after death.

Brent Pasqua: Yeah, and so let’s talk a little bit more about what is an actual living trust. Now, what is and does the living trust do for someone?

Matthew Theal: Well, if you think of estate planning as the process of organizing it and getting it all together, is it fair to say the living trust is like your briefcase or your binder where you put all your documents actually inside of it?

Brent Pasqua: Yes.

Matthew Theal: So it’s the legal way to manage your assets and estate while you’re alive, and then it ensures that it transitions smoothly, within your wishes, after you die.

Brent Pasqua: Yeah, and the way I think of it too is an estate plan is almost like you planning a vacation. You get all of your plans together. You take out all of your clothes, you put your clothes on the bed, you get ready to pack. You know your destination, you know where you’re going. You know all of the things that you have.

Brent Pasqua: And a living trust is like the suitcase where you’re going to put all of your stuff in the suitcase, and then that suitcase is closed, but when you pass away or become incapacitated, everything in that suitcase gets passed out to all of the people that you want it to go to once you pass away. You know exactly who’s going to pass those things out to each person when you pass away.

Brent Pasqua: So it’s really getting that legal document, that trust in place, who’s going to describe exactly how you want things to be passed out. So that’s the difference. The estate plan is the process. The trust is one of those legal documents that’s going to help you get it from point A to point B. What are some of the items within the estate plan, Josh?

Joshua Winterswyk: A will, like I had mentioned, is another item within the estate plan. And what the will will do is any property, that’s giving direction of who will inherit that property. And the difference really, between a living trust and a will is, a will can actually be written in the sand. It can be written on a napkin, and you can give the instruction of what property you want and for who to be inherited to, but it won’t avoid probate. That’s one of the biggest differences between a living trust and a will. The living trust will actually help that property avoid probate and which, in California, is an issue for clients if you have assets over $150,000.00.

Joshua Winterswyk: So a will is another portion of that estate plan that’s separate from the living trust that will be a part of your estate process.

Brent Pasqua: Yeah, and I think one of the things that’s misunderstood by just the general public is that people think, “Oh, I just need a will in order to avoid probate.” And probate is the process of which, if you don’t have a trust, the court decides how your assets are distributed. But you actually need a living trust because a trust creates a separate name and entity for all of your assets where a will doesn’t do it. It’s just your wishes, basically, on paper. Correct?

Joshua Winterswyk: Yeah, absolutely.

Brent Pasqua: And Matt, what are some of the other items within an estate plan? Tell us a little bit more about those.

Matthew Theal: Another item that you encounter is going to be your power of attorney. And what that does is it essentially gives a person the power to make decisions for you if you become incapacitated. After that, you’re going to do your healthcare directives, and very similarly, a healthcare directive will outline the treatment decisions that you wish if you can’t make them yourself. So alright, you’re in the hospital, you’re incapacitated. It’s essentially, do you pull the plug, do you do this, do you do that?

Brent Pasqua: Yeah, one of the other items within the estate plan, I think it’s probably one of the most critical to people who have young kids, young families, is assigning legal guardianship if something were to happen to the parents. So if something happened to my wife and I, in our estate plan, in our trust, we have it assigned that our kids would go to person A if something were to happen to us. And then if something happened to that person also, then they would have guardianship, which would go to person B.

Brent Pasqua: It’s so critical because these things can happen. If it does happen and you leave your children behind, there’s no legal document that says where your children is going to go unless you have some legal guardianship paper. You need an estate plan anyway, you might as well get the guardianship done while you do the estate plan. It’s all in your legal document as well.

Matthew Theal: Yeah, as a new parent, that’s something that I need to do within the next month, definitely.

Brent Pasqua: Yeah, I think when my son was born, my wife and I made the adjustments. I think my son was born in April, and by November, trust was all completed and done. And I still felt like, in that time period, I was at risk. If you’re out there, you do have to be observant. This is a good reason to not only just do your trust, but you want to make sure your kids go where you want them to go, so it’s another reason why.

Brent Pasqua: Let’s talk about other reasons why it’s important to do and complete a living trust. Josh, why don’t you tell us about one of the most important reasons also?

Joshua Winterswyk: Yeah, we talked already a little bit about probate, and the problem with probate is it’s expensive, so it’s going to the court. California has a very expensive probate court, and so you’re going to pay a lot of money on fees and court charges. There’s also challenges when you go through the court, so avoiding probate is reason number one. And in combination with that is to save yourself, and your family, and whoever is inheriting your assets money, and to avoid all of the challenges that probate comes with.

Joshua Winterswyk: Probate can last anywhere from six months to years just to get the assets distributed. So to avoid all of those challenges, to save yourself a lot of money and probate costs for all of the net worth you’ve accumulated for your heirs, and avoid probate, those are some pretty good reasons to establish that estate plan.

Brent Pasqua: Tell us a bit about what probate is.

Matthew Theal: Oh, Brent, that’s a great question, and I’m not fully prepared for it. But in probate, I believe if your state is over … Is it like 120 grand in California?

Brent Pasqua: 150

Matthew Theal: 150, so basically anyone who owns a piece of property, and they don’t have a trust, their estate is going to go to probate.

Brent Pasqua: And I guess, to even make it more simple, probate is the court system that your stuff goes to, and it allows the court to decide who it’s supposed to go to if you don’t tell your stuff where it’s supposed to go.

Matthew Theal: And then there’s a standardized fee schedule, I believe, that your heirs automatically get lost out on, and I believe it’s a graded commission scale. So I think at 150 grand, isn’t it like 10% of your estate goes to California?

Brent Pasqua: Yeah. No.

Joshua Winterswyk: I want to think it starts at four.

Brent Pasqua: Yeah.

Matthew Theal: It starts at four? Okay-

Joshua Winterswyk: Yeah.

Brent Pasqua: It’s a gradual scale that goes all the way up, but it’s thousands of dollars. And if you have assets that aren’t assigned to your trust and something happens to you, it’s going to cost your family thousands of dollars to get your assets to where it needs to be. One of the other challenges I think that people have with probate is, it’s one of the most slow processes in the court system because it’s one of the least important. The court is not necessarily worried about how fast your family is going to get your money. The court is more worried about taking care of a lot of more important issues, and this isn’t one that they consider important.

Brent Pasqua: I have heard of probate time for just a small family or simple estate taking anywhere from two to four years. That’s a tremendous time to wait, especially if you had small children. What are they living off of if you don’t have a trust?

Joshua Winterswyk: Yeah, and I looked up the number, so it does start at 4% for the first 100,000, say 100,000, four grand. And you’re looking at, let’s say, $600,000.00 say, or a house valued at $900,000.00. Let me give you this example, your fee is estimated to be about $20,000.00. I mean, that’s a significant amount of money that can be avoided by establishing an estate plan.

Matthew Theal: When you could get a trust done for what, $1,200.00, $1,500.00? That’ll be even less if you go the online route.

Joshua Winterswyk: Yep.

Brent Pasqua: Yeah, and then here’s the other challenges. I mean, let’s say you have a mortgage on your house. The mortgage isn’t getting paid because it’s in probate. Those costs are adding up. There’s a big challenge with the time that it takes. And not only just the time but the amount of money you’re tacking on to all of it. What are some other reasons why, Matt, that a person should do a trust?

Matthew Theal: Well, we already know you’re going to save money and time by not going to court. It’s going to give you that protection in case you become incapacitated. It determines who takes over your affairs and who gets what. I mean, a lot of people have complex beneficiary rules. They want to give A and B to these grandkids. They want to give C and D to their kids. They want to give E and F to charity. Well, the trust can do all of that for you.

Matthew Theal: Like you said, Brent, it’s going to set up guardianship. And then lastly, and this could be really, really important for some people as it’s going to provide privacy. One thing we didn’t mention is, I believe probate, it becomes a public affair, and you could pull it up and read about it online.

Brent Pasqua: Yeah, and I think the last thing I would want is somebody, some long lost cousin coming after my estate saying, “This person borrowed money from me, and now they owe it.” And they know that your estate is through probate because it’s public, and they can try and come after some of that money. I think there’s a lot of reasons why to do an estate plan, but keeping it private, keeping your money in your family, making sure it goes to the person that you want it to go to seems so important.

Joshua Winterswyk: Yeah, and I think that what stands out to me too is the incapacity. If you become sick, you definitely want to make sure there’s someone already in line that you’ve chosen to take care of your affairs. I think that happens a lot more unexpectedly than we think of, “I need someone to take care of my affairs because I’m sick. I can’t make those decisions on my own.” You probably want to pick that person to be taking care of your affairs.

Joshua Winterswyk: And then, also, if you want more detailed structure for how your beneficiaries are inheriting the money, an estate plan can actually have provisions on how the people who are inheriting the money can spend, how often, how much they can get every year out of the inheritance. So if you want more specific rules about how your beneficiaries inherit the money, the estate plan can also solve for that.

Brent Pasqua: Yeah, and I think that is so important because there’s a lot of people that want their assets to be passed out in a very specific way, and there’s a lot of people that don’t. And it’s not right or wrong to say that one way fits for everybody, but just to make sure that your estate gets distributed the way it’s supposed to and the way that you built it, I think it’s so important.

Joshua Winterswyk: Yeah, absolutely.

Brent Pasqua: Let’s go into some estate plan tips. What are some tips, Matt, that you have for estate planning?

Matthew Theal: The first thing after you create your actual estate plan and you get your living trust done is, you don’t want to just throw it away and never look at it again. And I think that’s what a lot of people do. First, the laws change. I believe estate planning laws change every couple of years with who’s in Congress and who the president is. So you’re always going to want to get your estate plan probably reviewed, at least, at minimum, every five years.

Matthew Theal: And then your assets are always changing, right? You’re buying a new house, maybe you make some new investments, start a new business, you’re going to want to make sure that all your new assets and properties are listed out in your trust, so you need to update it after you create it.

Brent Pasqua: Yeah, I completely agree. And, Josh, what are some other things that are important in some of these tips?

Joshua Winterswyk: Yeah, absolutely. So even if you have these documents created, for any listeners out there, or you’re planning on, you definitely want to have multiple copies of the document saved. Obviously, there’s going to be many parties involved besides maybe you, a spouse, children, anyone that’s taking care of the trust. And centralizing the documents as well, and making sure also that the people who are in charge of taking care of your affairs actually know what their roles are. I think that’s really important through this time.

Joshua Winterswyk: And Brent, I’m sure you can have a story about this as well, but people we just cross with, family, friends, clients, that haven’t even let their beneficiaries, or their trustees, or their powers of attorney know that that’s their role. Letting them know and letting them know where to find the documents and centralizing them is just going to make the process even that much easier.

Brent Pasqua: Why is it important that the person who’s the power of attorney for your healthcare or the person in charge of your health decisions has a copy of your legal healthcare directive?

Joshua Winterswyk: They’re going to need that copy. That document is very crucial to that whole process. You don’t want someone in the moment of tragedy or just in an accident to be having to search and look around for that document, and especially if there’s a medical decision that needs to be made very quickly. You want to have really quick access to that document for someone to be able to make those decisions for you.

Brent Pasqua: Yeah, let’s use that as an example. Let’s say you went into the hospital because you got COVID, and you had to get on a ventilator, and you’ve already done your healthcare directive, and your trust is done, but you didn’t even tell the person that was in charge of your healthcare decisions that you’ve this directive done, and it’s sitting on your bookshelf. And then the doctors are spinning their wheels on what decisions to make. They don’t know who’s necessarily in charge and needs to be notified. That person who you’ve nominated to be in charge of that needs to have a copy of that so they can help make healthcare decisions with the doctors.

Joshua Winterswyk: Mm-hmm (affirmative), a very good example. It’s very timely.

Brent Pasqua: Yeah, I think it’s very timely right now. I mean, our recommendation to all of our clients over the last four or five months is just make sure you have a virtual copy of your healthcare directive, and the person in charge of making healthcare decisions has a copy of it. Pass those copies along. But that’s just one, I think, of the many reasons why estate plans are so critical, especially in today’s day and era, for people have their legal documents put in place and they have an estate plan.

Brent Pasqua: Who are the people who should have a trust, Matt? I think that’s a question that gets lost in this because I think we’ve talked a little bit about a lot of young families. We haven’t talked as much, I feel like, as older families. Is it older, younger, where does this all fit in?

Matthew Theal: My rule of thumb is anyone who owns property, has a kid, owns a business, and you live in the state of California, you need to get a trust done. It’s pretty simple. If you have kids, do it. If you own property, do it. If you own a business, you have significant assets, do it. It’s a small upfront fee to pay to a lawyer to get the protection you need.

Joshua Winterswyk: I think what’s also really important too is, one thing I’ve heard or rejection from getting a trust is, “I don’t even know who I want to inherit the money.” Well, even if you’re just charitable or you don’t know, you still want your wishes to be met in some capacity. And a lot of times, creating an estate plan can help bring some clarity to the future as well because we’ll finally be looking at who you want to take care of these things, who you want to inherit money.

Joshua Winterswyk: It doesn’t even have to be an individual, it can be charity, or a foundation, or an organization you’re a part of. So making sure that those wishes are met is going to come out with this. And I agree with you, Matt. Like you said, everybody, probably if you’re thinking about getting one, you need one.

Brent Pasqua: Yeah, I would completely agree. And I think for a lot of people too, the process is hard for them to think about. I think that’s one of the things I’ve heard so much over my career. People just don’t want to think about it. And it’s a funny story when Josh and I started working together and Josh joined the firm, we would be talking about these things in conversations with clients. And I remember in the beginning Josh was like, “Brent, how do you talk about people dying?”

Brent Pasqua: And it’s just so natural. You just have these conversations that are slightly uncomfortable, but at the end of the day, it’s a reality of life. And we need these documents put into place to make sure that if something does happen, that one-off chance, it doesn’t mean something is going to happen, but if that one-off chance that something does happen, then your estate, your kids, your family, everybody is protected the way it should, and your stuff remains private. It’s able to be passed out the way that you want it to.

Joshua Winterswyk: Yeah, absolutely. I remember that day like it was yesterday. I was looking at you, Brent, like, “You just talk about this a little too easy. I got to get there. It doesn’t come off the tongue as easy.” But through experience, as you’re working in the industry even more, I think it’s just you realize how important it is to have these difficult conversations and how it’s going to just help a family or a situation even more by having these difficult conversations. Definitely worth it to get through the tough meeting.

Brent Pasqua: Yeah, and I think all of our clients have become like family to all of us, and the last thing that you want is to see their families struggle by them not having a trust. And then their kid is looking at you saying, “Why didn’t they do a trust?” You don’t want their family to struggle if something were to happen, and they’re already going through a lot of they lost a parent.

Matthew Theal: Right, right.

Brent Pasqua: Lastly, just the last thing that we want to touch on, on the trust is, what is the process of getting the trust? What do people have to do? Who do they reach out to? What’s the overall easiest way to get a trust?

Joshua Winterswyk: I want to just start. I’m a little biased. Start with your financial planner. But go ahead, Matt.

Matthew Theal: No, that’s what I was going to say. Start with your trusted circle of advisors, ask your financial planner, ask your CPA. But one thing I’ll say is that a lawyer creates a trust, so your financial advisor and your CPA aren’t going to create the trust for you. They might help you get organized before you go on to create your trust. And if they’re trying to create your trust, something might be a little fishy, so you might want to run for the hills. But, in general, you do it with a lawyer.

Matthew Theal: Now, there’s a couple of ways you could do that. You could use a actual human being, or you can go online through Legal Zoom. Josh, what’s the new one that’s online called that Betterment works with?

Joshua Winterswyk: Vanilla, I think it’s Vanilla Trust. Let me take a look.

Matthew Theal: So there’s some new online services popping up that are, I would call them robo-trust companies, robo-advisors, but for creating trusts.

Joshua Winterswyk: Yeah, Just Vanilla. It’s Just Vanilla Better Estate Planning. I’m kind of excited for this. I know it’s new, but the robo-style for someone who doesn’t need a trust that’s as complex, embracing technology and making it a little easier and a little cheaper through technology, so I’m excited about the Just Vanilla. Maybe we’ll have a update in a couple of shows after we have some time to look into it more.

Brent Pasqua: Yeah, and I don’t want the complexity word messing with the thought of people, whether you need a trust or not. If you have $150,000.00, and you have children, and you want your estate to go to somebody, you need to have a trust. When we talk about complexity, sometimes we talk complexity, and we mean we want our distributions to go a specific way. We want to detail them out. Those aren’t always necessarily complex, you’re just being very detailed in the way that you’re planning.

Brent Pasqua: But whether you have a little bit or a lot, it doesn’t really matter. T trust is going to get you from point A to point B, and you need that to get from point A to point B. One thing I think, Matt, you touched on too, I think is really important, you hinted about it is, when you do your estate plan and somebody is trying to sell you something at the end of doing your estate plan, you might want to run in the other direction. Chances are, they’re trying to get commissions off of selling you an estate plan. That’s probably a very bad idea. I’d be very leery of those types of people.

Brent Pasqua: Now only that, but they’re actually illegal, so just be mindful of that, that the estate plan that you’re getting isn’t connected with somebody else getting something from you doing it, a cheap estate plan. Cheaper in estate planning is not always better. I’ll tell you that for sure, because there’s a lot of things that become missing from those documents like a lot of sections, a lot of things that you want to make sure that the funding is correct, the documents are all in order, that things are all correct. So you want to make sure that the estate plan is actually done by somebody that’s either an attorney or one of these very thorough processes.

Matthew Theal: Those are some good tips.

Brent Pasqua: Any final thoughts on just on estate planning?

Matthew Theal: I have one more tip. I always tell my clients it’s usually not listed in the standard living trust templates that lawyers use, but put your advisor’s card with your binder. Put your CPA’s card, put anybody’s card who helps you make these financial decisions. Put your business partner’s information. That way if something does happen to you unexpected, your kids, your heirs, they know the trusted advisors to call.

Brent Pasqua: Great point, absolutely.

Joshua Winterswyk: I have one more. Just make sure before starting this whole conversation, go right now and make sure you have beneficiaries listed on all of your accounts, life insurance, all of that stuff. I mean, it’s so important, and a lot of times it does go overlooked, or we don’t check it or review it. Your bank accounts, your investment accounts, retirement accounts, life insurance, make sure we’re going back and making sure that we have beneficiaries listed on all of them just as a homework recommendations to-do list.

Brent Pasqua: Yeah, and I think that’s a good point of the difference between doing the estate planning process and a living trust. The estate planning process is assigning beneficiaries to accounts that should not be in a trust. The trust is the legal document that’s going to pass assets that need to get passed to the beneficiaries. They’re two different processes, but I think that’s such a great point.

Brent Pasqua: Let’s get to the last part of the show, RPA Recommends. Matthew, you have anything for us today?

Matthew Theal: No, Brent, I don’t have it. Did I do Apple TV Plus last time? I think I did.

Brent Pasqua: I think you did.

Matthew Theal: Yeah, I still really like it. Like I said, I just purchased a Peloton, so hopefully … It’s not coming until October, so I’ve got about a month to wait, but I’ll have a full Peloton review coming. so I feel like that’s going to be on the recommends coming up.

Brent Pasqua: Are you giving the recommendation for the process of buying a Peloton?

Matthew Theal: Yeah, I mean, I guess I could.

Joshua Winterswyk: It’s kind of like buying a Tesla, right? It’s just you add your features, and that’s it, and you get what you want.

Matthew Theal: Exactly. And I tried to use Honey to see if there was a discount code, but none of the discount codes they had worked, so there’s another Honey failure.

Brent Pasqua: I know that they have a referral discount. Did you use that? You have a couple of friends with Pelotons.

Matthew Theal: No, I didn’t use that. I didn’t know, which is completely my fault. Maybe I could reach out and see if they could give me a referral discount since I just ordered it. Other than that, man, I haven’t really bought anything new. We’ve just been sitting with the baby for the last month.

Brent Pasqua: Yeah, I thought you were going to come up with a daddy gift, but the Peloton is like a dad gift. You’ve got to work out and be healthy for your baby.

Matthew Theal: It is. I’ve got to get the dad bod off.

Brent Pasqua: Yeah. Yeah, so at least the bike comes, that will be cool. I’d like to hear about your experience using the Peloton and your reviews of it.

Joshua Winterswyk: Hopefully, you’re a little easier on Peloton than you were on Honey.

Matthew Theal: My mom even used Honey, and she listens to the show, and she’s like, “This product is garbage.”

Joshua Winterswyk: Come on, I’m sure your mom said that. Oh, geez.

Brent Pasqua: I feel like you’re so wishy-washy with Honey because you gave it a great review last time, and the two times before that, that wasn’t good, so you’re all over the place with Honey. Josh, what do you have for us?

Joshua Winterswyk: Has anyone of us done Yeti products at all? I don’t know if we have.

Brent Pasqua: No, I don’t think so.

Joshua Winterswyk: Because I know we all use Yeti products. I’m sitting here with my Yeti coffee mug, my Yeti water jug, and I really like them. I really have no complaints about my Yeti products, and they’re great. So if you haven’t looked into them, they’re a little pricey, but they’re the top of the line products out there for anything that you’re drinking out of, ice chests, all of that stuff. I guess that’s my recommends as I’m looking at my two Yeti products I have here on my desk. I’m really happy with the Yeti products.

Brent Pasqua: If we did, we probably did Yetis in one of the first few shows, and I don’t even know if anybody listened to the first couple of shows.

Matthew Theal: I think, Brent, you did the lunch pail.

Brent Pasqua: Yeah, and I just bought a coffee cup for keeping the coffee warm, but that was early on.

Joshua Winterswyk: Me and my wife have been using the Yeti wine cups. Those are awesome too. All their stuff is great.

Brent Pasqua: I’m going to do one that I think is helpful for people who are working from home. If you’re like us, you’re doing a lot of Zoom meetings. You need really good wifi. I recently got a Nest wifi router. My Zoom meetings were spotty at times. Josh recommended that I replace my router, so I got two wifi Nest routers, so I have one upstairs and one downstairs. Great connection now, meetings never putter out. I’ve never lost any Zoom calls or any meetings. So I recommend it if you’re at home and your wifi is spotty. I know right now it’s really hard to have bad wifi because the last thing you want to do is be in a call or a meeting or something and then your wifi is one cutting out. Check them out. They’re really good, very useful, and very easy to set up. I’m not very handy, but I was able to set all of mine up.

Joshua Winterswyk: It takes me forever to buy something, so I gave you that recommendation and I still haven’t bought one yet. I researched it. I have my finger on the trigger, but I still haven’t bought one even though I recommended it to you. I’m waiting for Honey to give me a discount, Matt.

Brent Pasqua: You guys recommend things, I take advantage of it, and you guys sit on it. Alright. Well, thank you for listening to the Retirement Plan Playbook. Please give us your review wherever you stream your podcasts. If you’d like to learn more about us or read the show notes, please go to As always, thank you for listening.

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