Retirement Answer Man

Have you ever had to deal with closing an estate? Mark Ross happens to have the unfortunate experience of helping to close out 4 different estates in a short period of time. Since experience is the best teacher, Mark joins me today to discuss his experience with the probate process. He’ll share how he dealt with his feelings during the process, how long it took, how he managed, and what he thinks you can do to organize your own estate. Give your heirs the gift of an organized estate by learning all you can now to help ease the probate process.

Organization can be a gift to your heirs

In helping to close out 4 different estates in a short amount of time, Mark Ross learned a lot about the differing levels of organization in estate planning. Probate is a long and complicated process that can be even more challenging if you don’t have all of the pieces of the puzzle. Mark learned that when an estate is well organized the process is so much easier. He feels like that organization was a gift that helped him through the probate process. 

How should you organize your own estate plan?

Mark’s main piece of advice in organizing your own estate plan is to get an attorney that is a good fit for you and your personality. He also recommends that you keep meticulous records of all conversations regarding your estate. 

Since family dynamics can play a role when money is involved it is important to be clear about the flow of money. 

One last piece of advice he has is to never be a coexecutor. He found that that situation could drag out the emotional journey even longer than it needs to be. An executor needs to be able to have the accountability to make difficult decisions. 

How organized is your estate plan? Is it updated to reflect your current situation?

3 things you can do to gain confidence in your financial plan in retirement

If you don’t have confidence in your financial plan you won’t be happy in retirement. There are 3 things you can do to gain more confidence in your plan. 

  1. Understand how your financial plan reflects your personality. There are a couple of different ways that you can go about planning your finances in retirement. With a probability-based or investment based plan, you will have a portfolio that generates enough income to live on. The second style is the safety-first style. This means having your basic expenses covered by guaranteed income like social security or a pension.

    These two very different planning styles optimize for different things. Make sure the style you choose to follow reflects your personality. 

  2. Educate yourself. Many families have one who invests and the other doesn’t. Both partners need to be educated to have enough understanding to be confident in the financial plan. Hope isn’t good enough. Get a plan you are both comfortable and have confidence in.

  3. Have an emergency fund and a “fun” fund. Sure, this is just a psychological trick but it could give you peace of mind. 

How confident are you in your retirement plan?



  • [2:07] What is the difference between information and knowledge?


  • [7:41] How do you balance the obligations of the estate with your feelings?
  • [13:04] They have been able to learn and prepare for the estate closure over time
  • [14:36] How should you organize your own estate plan?
  • [16:54] How to deal with differing interests?


  • [20:27] If you don’t have confidence in your plan you won’t be happy in retirement
  • [23:01] Paying off your mortgage can mean so much to some people
  • [27:45] Have an emergency fund


  • [33:03] Think about the past year: what were the best and worst decisions you made

Resources Mentioned In This Episode

Rock Retirement Club

Roger’s YouTube Channel - Roger That

BOOK - Rock Retirement  by Roger Whitney

Work with Roger

Roger’s Retirement Learning Center

Direct download: RAM336.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am CDT