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Ten Estate Planning Lessons From HBO’s "Succession"

Many of the planning challenges the ultrarich Roys face are wealth agnostic and relevant to all families.

With the return of HBO’s Succession on Sunday, millions of viewers are diving back into the fictional Roy family’s world of opulence, intrigue and betrayal.

Succession, in addition to being a fun watch, is that rarest of beasts—a piece of popular entertainment that focuses on estate planning. And that makes it a wonderful teaching tool for advisors to use to broach the otherwise terrifying topic with clients. Nothing like a little chocolate to make the estate planning pill go down easier.

Though the ridiculous wealth and soap opera–level melodrama of the show’s central family give it an otherworldly feel, the reality is that most of the serious planning challenges the Roys face are largely wealth agnostic and faced by all families. Indeed, even the seemingly ridiculous Roys are based on an amalgamation of real-life ultra-high-net-worth families—namely the Murdochs of Fox News and Viacom’s Redstone family—so even their most outrageous problems do have some basis in reality.

Check out this list of 10 lessons that more traditional clients can take from Succession, and maybe next time you and a client are just casually chatting about TV you may find an opportunity to break the ice on a normally difficult conversation.

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