barbie blog and estate planning



As a mom of girls, I knew the minute I heard about the Barbie movie that this would be one I would be going to see. As a girl, I loved Barbie, who wouldn’t, she was beautiful, lived in a Dreamhouse and drove a pink car. She could be a vet, an astronaut, a horse trainer or even the president. When I became a mom, it was fun to see my girls playing with something I had also loved as a child, even if the Dreamhouse now came with a jacuzzi that used REAL water, which was constantly leaving puddles all over my living room floor.

So, there I was on a Saturday night, decked out in pink with my overpriced popcorn, ready for two hours of mindless entertainment when from the screen I hear “Do you guys ever think about dying?” ---- Wait; what?

Do I ever think about dying?

Well, yes, I am an estate planning attorney.

I think about it a lot, but not on Saturday nights, not while eating popcorn and definitely not while wearing pink leggings! But it was too late, the seed had been planted, and off my mind drifted to what would I advise Barbie to do if she came to see me.

So, let’s say Barbie is my client, she is a single gal with a lot of assets; can you say Dreamhouse, Jet Ski, Cruise Ship, and more? Barbie is concerned that should something happen to her when she leaves Barbie Land that one of the Kens would claim her many possessions and could go so far as to – gasp - turn the Dreamhouse into a “Mojo Dojo Casa House”!

Or what if she was injured and could not make her own medical decisions, how does she guarantee it is not Weird Barbie making those decisions on her behalf?

Will Allan and Earring Magic Ken find a way to access her bank accounts and spend all her savings on diamond studs?

What about Tanner? Not everyone could love a pup that is constantly dropping plastic “waste” wherever he goes.

I understand these fears, the Human World is a scary place and I hear them every day. But luckily, I can advise Barbie, as I do all my clients, as to what she absolutely needs to have in place for her estate plan. Once she has these core documents, we can then look at what else we can do to further her goals.

So, with Barbie, like all my clients, I start with what we like to call THE BIG THREE.

The Big Three is the foundation of any good estate plan. It consists of your Last Will and Testament, a Durable Power of Attorney and a Healthcare Proxy. With your last Will and Testament, you elect someone to manage your estate, express your wishes for what should happen to your assets upon your passing, choose guardians for your minor children, and even a caretaker for your pets. Next, the Durable Power of Attorney is used to grant someone the power to manage your affairs should you be unable to. And lastly, with the Healthcare Proxy, you designate someone to make medical decisions for you in the event you are unable to make them yourself.

Barbie is immediately overwhelmed, after all she has SO much “stuff”. How can she decide in this moment who gets the jewelry, the high heels, the closet full of couture? Is it fair to give one person the Cruise Ship and someone else just the snowmobile? What if she changes her mind? I explain to Barbie that this is why so many people wait to make their estate plan. They think they need to have all the answers before it is prepared and that once it is signed it can not be changed, but that is not the case.  In fact, any good estate planning attorney will check in with their clients regularly to review any major life changes that could necessitate a change to their plan.

I assure Barbie she doesn’t need to decide who gets everything right now. I can prepare her Will with her general overall wishes, which for most clients is dividing assets up among specified loved ones, and I will also provide her with a personal memorandum where she can list specific gifts. This is a memorandum she can keep with her Will and add to at her convenience. The gifts she lists there are incorporated into her Will by reference, so if Barbie suddenly decides she wants to leave those Pink Rollerblades to Skipper or her Barbie Camper to Midge, she can add that to her personal memorandum at any time. She does not need all the answers today.

I know the Human World can be a chaotic place, and all this can be overwhelming to think about, but having at least a basic estate plan is always better than having nothing. Do not wait until you have all the answers, leaving both your family and your legacy at risk. Instead, make an appointment today, because sometimes, just taking that first step is “Kenough”.

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