Market volatility is a constant in our modern world. But so-called Black Swan events sometimes take the concept of volatility to the next level. On June 23, voters in the U.K. passed a referendum supporting the idea that Britain should leave the European Union. Known as “Brexit” for short, this surprising political outcome instantly plunged international markets into crisis, and the British pound took a beating.


Prior to the Brexit vote, Wall Street was already somewhat destabilized and reeling due to an abnormal political season in the U.S. and several other factors. And since the vote, the immediate future is looking anything but placid.


So what are the implications for the average U.S. investor? Will Brexit (and all the other turmoil we see in the news, like the horrific attacks in Nice, Istanbul, and elsewhere) somehow impact your estate planning or long-term financial strategy? If so, how should you react, if at all?


When big political events take over the headlines, they tend to give people the jitters regarding their portfolios and legal plans. Brexit is no exception. It didn’t take long for Twitter and Facebook to burn red hot after the vote and lead to speculation about Brexit’s ramifications and “quick fixes” for how to respond to these imagined scenarios. As serious as the situation is, however, you definitely do not want to overreact. Let’s all calm down and take a drink of water.

What Will Brexit Do to the Global Economy?


It’s difficult to say just what Brexit’s long-range effects will be. All we have right now is a vote to leave the European Union. Britain hasn’t started implementing that plan yet. The best we can say at this point is there is a fair level of uncertainty in the markets stemming from this unexpected vote.


Many analysts predict a recession in the UK, should the country actually pull out of the EU. If that happens, it will likely spill over into the rest of Europe, and probably lead to some ripples globally. But that negative forecast would only happen once implementation gets underway—12 – 24 months out. And, just because there’s a recession in Europe doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll travel across the Atlantic to the U.S.


At this point, investment managers are keeping their eyes on the opportunities. A recession doesn’t necessarily spell doom and gloom, and even the prospect of one shouldn’t lead to a radical overhaul (or even small amendments) to your particular investment, legal, and estate plan. Bear in mind the following:


  • Overreacting to big picture financial news can be as bad as or worse than doing nothing at all.
  • What’s happening in the global marketplace is out of your control; you just need to manage your business, money, and legal affairs.
  • By getting clarity about your long-term plan and developing contingencies for different financial events, you can feel more at ease.
  • There’s even a chance that the Brexit won’t actually happen, so overreacting might even be wasted effort.


Here’s the bottom line: Keep a cool head. Work with us and the rest of your legal and financial team to adopt a strategy that achieves your goals. We are here to protect your future. Give us a call today.

On June 19, 2016, when successful actor Anton Yelchin (Chekov in the recent Star Trek movies) failed to show for rehearsal, his friends became worried and drove to his house. Sadly, they found Yelchin pinned between his security fence, brick mailbox, and Jeep Grand Cherokee.


According to investigators, the 27-year-old star exited the vehicle before it allegedly rolled backwards down his steep driveway, pinning, and ultimately killing the Star Trek actor. Los Angeles County Coroner Assistant Chief Ed Winter stated the cause of death as “accidental blunt traumatic asphyxia.” Two days later, Fiat Chrysler released a statement informing the public of an investigation to determine whether a gear shift defect could have been to blame for the accident.


In June 2016, the manufacturer reported that this defect could be responsible for as many as 266 auto accidents. Back in April 2016, the manufacturer issued a recall for nearly 500,000 2014 and 2015 Grand Cherokees as well as other models due to an allegedly dangerous design error in the electronic shifters. Until Yelchin, no deaths had been linked to the issue.


Following Yelchin’s death, several Jeep owners took steps to file a class action lawsuit against Fiat Chrysler, alleging that the drivers suffered economic losses in the aftermath of the tragic accident. According to the lawsuit, plaintiffs claim that Fiat Chrysler knew about the shifting device’s possible defect for at least two years but hid this knowledge from the public, a decision that allegedly resulted in dozens of reported injuries and, possibly, Yelchin’s death.


Estate Planning Lessons: What Happens if You Pass Away Unprepared?


When you’re in your 20’s and 30’s and in good health, it’s easy to feel invincible and to justify deferring estate planning. Why worry about a long-term financial strategy and your “legacy” if you’re just getting a toehold in your industry?


Yelchin’s tragic situation highlights the fact that we are all – young and healthy, old and infirm alike – vulnerable to events outside our control. Establishing even a rudimentary plan is better than having nothing.


Details have yet to emerge about whether the actor had estate planning documents in place. However, actors who suddenly vault to success via high profile movie and TV roles as well as business owners who experience dramatic surges in income should reevaluate their plans frequently, especially during and after periods of major career growth and contraction.


Depending on the nature of your income surge, you might need focused, specialized planning to minimize tax consequences. Likewise, when your life or business goes through big inflection points, it can help to rethink your long term financial strategy just as a way to clean up the “open loops” in your life – to eliminate background distraction, so you can concentrate more on what’s important and what you love to do.


Failing to establish, amend, or revise a trust or will as your life changes can create needless risks. While no lawsuits appear to have been filed yet by Yelchin’s heirs, a properly drafted, up-to-date estate plan can make it easier for a family to hold those responsible for the death of a loved one accountable. In addition, the clarity created by such a plan helps keep family members concentrated on meaningful and important work, such as consoling children left behind and supporting one another emotionally, rather than potentially distracting legal issues.


While drafting a trust or a will does require skill and thoughtfulness, an experienced estate planning lawyer can take the emotional charge out of this process, simplify it greatly for you, and ensure an enduring legacy for the next generation. If you want to get started, we can help. Call us today for a consultation to obtain the clarity and peace of mind you need.