Downton Abbey follows the lives of the fictitious Crawley family who live in a grand English country house in the early 1900's. The Crawley family on the award-winning PBS series are stewards of a large estate—over 1,000 acres of agricultural land with a village of tenant farmers. They must keep the estate going and pass it on to the next generation. The big issue on the show lately is finding a suitable husband for Mary, so the estate remains in the Crawley family for her young son, the next Lord Grantham. Take a look just 3 of the 8 lessons to be learned from the series according to AccountingWEB’s:
Being Rich Doesn’t Make You Smart. Now the Granthams on the show may be friends with the Astors in New York and the aristocracy in England, but they’re extremely poor financial managers. Doing things the way we always have isn’t a business plan. Pay attention and make the necessary moves to be viable.
It's Never Too Early for Estate Planning. In season three of the popular series, Matthew Crawley revives the massive estate by injecting a large amount of cash he received as an inheritance from his deceased fiancée's family. With the estate solvent once again, Lord Grantham allows Matthew (the heir apparent married to Lady Mary) to take charge of making some of the business decisions. Sadly, returning home after meeting his new born son, Matthew is killed in a car crash. That’s another problem. Were this in 2015 America, any client with more than $5.43 million in assets needs to understand their estate tax liability.
One more lesson—Respect the Value of Advice. Lord Grantham got into a pickle financially by investing in a Canadian railway. But the founder died, and the railroad was on the verge of bankruptcy. Lord Grantham either didn’t ask his broker’s advice or just ignored it. So if you’re paying expert advice, you should follow it. Read some of the other lessons from this article and talk over a strategy for you and your loved ones with an experienced estate planning attorney. BTW, does anyone besides me find the series a little less interesting this year??
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Reference: AccountingWEB (March 10, 2015) “8 Lessons You and Your Clients Learn by Watching Downton Abbey”