Jamila Souffrant 0:00
You're listening to the Journey to Launch podcast How to Use Trust and Estate Plans to Build Intergenerational Wealth with Ifeoma Ibekwe.
Welcome to the Journey to Launch podcast with your host Jamila Souffrant as a money expert who walks her talk, she helps brave journeyers like you get out of debt, save, invest and build real wealth. Join her on the journey to launch to financial freedom.
Jamila Souffrant 0:39
Hey, hey, hey journeyers Welcome to the journey to launch podcast, I am bringing you an episode a much needed episode all about estate planning, specifically trust and I have on Ifeoma Ibekwe on the podcast. She's going to walk us through really the basics of what you need an estate plan. And we're going to take it even further with understanding what a trust is why it's important for you to establish one if you really want to pass down and build intergenerational wealth. All right. So before we do happen, iffy, we are iffy. We talked not only about just estate planning, I even shared my own little journey with helping my family with an estate plan matter. My intentions for you know wanting to build a trust or create a trust for my children, and so much more at the end we really get into the importance of rest and rest as a revolution. And I think moms will love this part of the episode and just you know if you're just anyone living at this point, dealing with and juggling All That Is that part of the episode I think will be really really useful and helpful.
If you want the episode Show Notes for this episode, go to journeytolaunch.com or click the description of wherever you're listening to this episode. in the show notes, you'll get the transcribed version of the conversation, the links that we mentioned and so much more. Also, whether you are in OG journeyer are brand new to the podcast, I've created a free jumpstart guide to help you on your financial freedom journey. It includes the top episodes, so listen to stages to go through to reach financial freedom, resources and so much more. You can go to journeytolaunch.com/jumpstart to get your guide right now. Okay, let's hop into the episode.
Okay, journeyers I thought it was long overdue a conversation and an episode on estate planning the importance of creating and transferring generational wealth to our future generations. And I have the pleasure of having Ifeoma Ibekwe on the podcast also known as if he had to do with your name Iffy
Ifeoma Ibekwe 2:56
almost almost if it's Ifeoma Ibekwe. So very close. Very
Jamila Souffrant 3:01
okay. Okay, full money back way. Beautiful. I wanted to bring you on. I mean, there's so many ways we can take this conversation because not only are you a wills and trust attorney, but you know, you're also a mom, I'm running your own business entrepreneur. And so I definitely want to get into your story and balancing it all because you balance a lot. But I really want to focus the conversation, especially now on generational wealth, creating it. But then also, you know, we're talking about this on the podcast, like content is all about creating wealth and financial independence and people are doing it in the now but what about the future? And you specialize in that. So first, I want you to kind of just give us a brief background on who you are and what you do. And then I want to get into the goodies.
Ifeoma Ibekwe 3:41
Yes, and thank you so much for having me. My name is Ifeoma Ibekwe you can call me iffy. I am an estate planning attorney, which is in essence a type of attorney who makes wills who does trust who does powers of attorney. And I love your podcast, because you talk about building wealth and growing wealth. Right? And we hear about that we hear about all the ways that people are like buying real estate and investing and should they go into cryptocurrency? And what about saving for my children, and all these wonderful ways that especially black people are now really in the wealth building mode, and it is furious and exponential, and I'm here for all of it. The missing factor when we talk about building a legacy and building generational wealth is the transfer intergenerationally. So what's the point? Right? Why are we building all of this? Most of us will say we're building all of it to support our family, our children, our siblings, our parents, our universities or organizations that we want to see going political causes, right? Well in order to do so you have to have a way to transfer it. And that's where estate planning attorneys come in because we are the people who create those wills and trusts and other ways to make sure that that money is not only transferred with tax advantages, so you're not bleeding out the estate when it's transferred. But other methods that a lot of people don't have access to. And so I'm out here spreading the word, we got to have estate planning done. If you're 18, and you can make decisions for yourself, this conversation is for you, because you need an estate plan.
Jamila Souffrant 5:24
Yes, and we're gonna have to break it down a bit, because I do want to get really technical in what estate planning is, like the documents and the process that that encompasses because people hear it and they're like, okay, but is that just a will? But I know it involves much more than that.
Ifeoma Ibekwe 5:39
Yes. And so I'll do a very brief two minute overview of what is an estate, right. So when people think about an estate, they think, okay, we're talking about Kanye and Kim Kardashian, when I see their land and their property and how you can't even see it from the road. It's on a hilltop, right? That's an estate. Sure, that's an estate, however, we each have an estate. So if you look around your room and look at the wall art or your computer, or your car, or if you own a home, you have things that are property, that's part of your estate. But a big part that people miss out on is their themselves, their physical body, right? health decisions related to your body, right are part of your estate planning, you got to make those decisions, if you're ever incapacitated, who's going to help you. And also decisions related to your money and who can have access, if something were to happen to you, or if you're out of the country, when we open up God Willing one day, who is going to help you make decisions, who can get access to your bank account, those things are also part of the estate planning process. And so there are a few documents you think of you think of a last will and testament, that's the will, it says, I want my property to go to these places, or these people. That's that's normal in the, in the understanding of wills, right? You also have medical and financial powers of attorneys. And these allow you to have agents to make decisions for you if you can't make decisions for yourself. And these documents are called different things in different states. But it's the general gist, right? And then you have something called a living will. And I want to point this out. A lot of people think that that's the last will and testament, but that's an end of life document, do you want certain medical interventions made? You don't want your family fighting? Oh, keep on life support? Oh, she told me she didn't want that. You can make all of these things known. And so so much of the process is that, and also planning for your children who's going to take care of them if something happens to you and the other custodial parent if you're not together, right? And then you also have trust. And I think that's where a lot of people get stuck. Because there's so many different kinds.
Jamila Souffrant 7:47
Yeah, and before we get into, you know, the trust part of it. For most people, you know, they might be thinking, like you said, like, I don't have Kardashian money, it's not much I don't even own a home, maybe. So why should I create, you know, spend the money to do this? So can we maybe talk a bit about who can do this, why they should do it no matter how little or how much they have? And then some, you know, I know, you can't say how much things cost, but just like a range, I know, you know, it's gonna differ, but just to give people an idea of the cost of something like this.
Ifeoma Ibekwe 8:19
So when you ask me who should do it, everyone who has reached the age of 18, is a United States citizen. So I'm talking about the US here. I know you have listeners from all over the world, it might be different where you are. If you're 18 years old, and you have capacity, that means that you can make decisions for yourself, right? There's no impairment that would prevent you nobody is a custodian over you, right? You need some form of an estate plan. And why it's important is because somebody may have to help you. Okay, we are all living lives, you know, where we hope that nothing happens. And it's incident free. But we're in the middle of a global pandemic right now, as of this recording, and there are lots of people dying. I mean, I was on the CDC website, I was reading a report that says, black people are 2.8 times more likely to pass away from COVID than a white person, similar situation, right? I believe the numbers even worse when it becomes when it talks about Latino or Latin x community it the number is actually worse. And so part of estate planning, what's important to you is that you need to put down your instructions for your health. If you have nothing and you feel like I don't own anything, I don't really care, at least care for yourself and get your medical directives done. Get your health directives done and have a financial power of attorney so God forbid if you're ever incapacitated, you don't have to lose your car if you've got bills, or lose whatever you pay for that could compound and cause a big effect because you Never decided to put those things in place. And so that's the floor, right?
If you feel like you really have nothing, get your health directives in place, get your financial power of attorney and consider doing a will, it doesn't matter if your will is very simple and says I just give everything to this person, if not, then to these heirs or whatever, you can get them done. Pretty basically, that's the floor. And I'm not an advocate of the floor. But I also don't want a situation where somebody ends up being at the mercy of a hospital ethics board, whether or not to keep you alive, because you don't have any desire to do that for yourself. And it's not the assumption that, Oh, well, my mom's going to be the one, it doesn't work like that, oh, my husband's going to take care of it. Not necessarily what if he disagrees with your parents, and then they there's a conflict there, and you have no instructions. And so these are the sorts of things we're trying to normalize, especially in black and brown communities about the importance of not only getting these starter documents for yourself, but also convincing the loved ones you care for, whether that's your parent, your favorite Auntie, your cousin, to do the same, so that you're not in a horrible predicament because they never got anything done.
Jamila Souffrant 11:15
Right. So if you are married, so some misconceptions that someone may be thinking, Well, I'm already married. So if something does happen, wouldn't just default to my husband in the hospital as a decision.
Ifeoma Ibekwe 11:23
No, It does not default to your spouse. Real quick, I just want to give the example of why some of these documents are so popular right now, in the late 90s, mid to late 90s. There's a woman named Terry Chavo, she was about 26 years old. One day in her home, she just passed out and had a massive heart attack that left her in a vegetative state. She was married, no kids, but she had two very loving parents, who never would expect anything like that to happen to her. Initially, they were on the same page about she's going to get better, we just know she's going to come through. Slowly, her husband started to go to the camp of I don't think Terry would want to live like this. I remember having a conversation with her. And she told me that she does not want to live like this. The parents were like, absolutely not. We believe a miracle is gonna happen. That case, for those of you who remember went on for years and years and years, you had the pro life people. I mean, it got political people would pick it, that the you cannot end her life, all of that nonsense ensued, right? Because the assumption is, well, they should just listen to the husband, right? No, that's not how it works. And you see in that example, that because it doesn't work like that it can actually become a fight, you're paying for medical care that whole time. The lawyers are definitely winning, okay, because you're paying lawyers to file all of these petition the court to stop all of this action, it costs money, and then you're breaking apart the family. And so after that, that living will that I mentioned, became even more essential and part of your estate plan saying if I'm ever in that condition, let me know. And let me go or let me do everything that's modern to keep me alive, right? People have their choices, and you may have a particular reason for wanting that decision. But that's why things like that are so important. It is not a given that your mom and dad are going to take care of you. They don't have legal access to your bank account, if you're an adult, they can't just take over your mortgage. Right. And so these are the things that you need to think about. And that that applies if you're ever incapacitated. But then it's even worse when you die, assuming that people are just going to get what they're going to get. Because that's definitely not how it works.
Jamila Souffrant 13:38
Oh my gosh, I'm so glad you brought up that real life example to put it in perspective. And you know, the other thing that comes up is some people they put on their insurance documents and then on their bank accounts, who's going to inherit or who has access, does that override or what overrides what in terms of the the financial directives in that case?
Ifeoma Ibekwe 13:58
Okay, so let's separate right there's a financial power of attorney, that is only in effect while you're alive. When you die, that's no longer in effect. Same with the medical power of attorney, that's to help you if you for the financial in Texas specifically if you are out of state or out of pocket you cannot get but you're not incapacitated, you can have an agent do financial things for you. Medical only goes into effect if there's an incapacity if you are unable to actually do anything or make decisions on your own. And that could also be the case for financial so it's layered for financial only while you're alive. When you pass away, those documents are over. Right? Those are invalidated because now you're dead. Okay. If you pass away and you have things like life insurance, or you have a bank account, maybe with a joint tenancy with right of survivorship, for example. First, they might be considered part of your estate but if you have beneficiaries listed, those are considered non probate assets which means that when you pass away, that company has a contract with whomever created that policy, and they're paying it out to the beneficiary. And this becomes even more layered, okay?
So take that life insurance example, you have a million dollar policy, and you want it first going to your spouse and you outright right out, I want to go into Joe, okay? When you die, Joe takes your death certificate, that policy and they pay it, they can write him a check, they can deposit it into his bank, I'm talking about within a business day, right? It is that much outside of the estate planning process when you have an outright beneficiary. If you say I wanted to go to Joe as my primary, and then my children who are minors is contingent, and you write all right, I wanted to go to Lisa and I wanted to go to Kendra. Well, guess what, now you have a problem, right? Because minors while they can be listed as beneficiaries, or even secondary, primary, whatever, there has to be someone who's a custodian to control that money. And so this is happening in my family right now. I have a cousin who passed away and left life insurance to her minor children. And now, they can't get that she's been dead for months, they need to hire a lawyer, have those children, have a guardian set up a trust, and then have it go through this whole process to get that money to the kids. And this whole time that money could have been paid over in a weekend, right?
So that's a problem because it doesn't matter that you write the name, sometimes, you want to go a step further what you can do, especially if you want to control this money, leaving someone a million dollars can destroy them, within 18 months, you see it in lottery winners, people who receive large funds with no plan will squander it. And usually there's a correlation with age when that happens, right? So in my line of work, what we recommend is setting up some sort of a trust. And that way, instead of saying I want the money to go to Joe, which could be fine. If Joe wants the money and cash sure, Joe can invested in do whatever he wants, right. But there might be some other considerations. I don't want to start going into taxes. I'm not a CPA, also, I'm not giving legal advice, just legal information and education, which I should have disclaimed. At the very beginning, I get into this conversation, I just keep talking. But basically, if you have a situation where you want to manage that large amount of money or small amount, let's move 5000 is a lot of money to some people. So maybe it's 10 50,000 100, whatever it can get overwhelming to leave that in a lump sum, you can create a trust, which is a living trust, or some other type of trust to receive that money. Right. So instead of the beneficiary being Lisa and Kendra, it could be the Lisa Kendra trust, you can call it whatever you want, in most places, right? Living Trust, dated this date. And so that would be the beneficiary on your trust. And that money would then go into the trust, and be able to be used for the health, the education, the maintenance and the support of whoever you want as the beneficiaries. Right. But key is to create the trust and fund it in some kind of way, while you're waiting for it to be super funded with like money after death. And that's where the legacy comes in. Because it's a long game now, right? You may not see the fruits of this money, this insurance, this property, but your kids will. And so that's when we talk about generational wealth, it we love building it for ourselves, right? But who's really gonna benefit if you set it up? Right? Your kids and their kids and their kids and their kids. And so that's that's kind of how it works.
Jamila Souffrant 18:45
Yeah, okay, I want to get definitely more into the trust compensation, I just want to get an understanding, make sure I'm clear on the beneficiary part. And if you do set up, you know, after you die, like who your assets go to, so if you list someone as a beneficiary on your life insurance policy, but in your Will you had something different, but what overrides
Ifeoma Ibekwe 19:03
life insurance is going to control.
Jamila Souffrant 19:05
Right, okay. And so that's why it's also important to update your document. So, personally, we also just helped my grandmother with her estate plan finally convinced her to do it. And one of the things that I did ask, the attorney was just like, you know, she had something different on her insurance papers, but wanted something different to happen in the estate. And he's like, well, you have to make sure you change that because if something happens, it's going to go and default to the insurance. So I want people to know that
Ifeoma Ibekwe 19:30
Jamila Souffrant 19:31
That you have to update everything to be in line and then let's go into trust because this was also something that came up as I started to do the process, my grandmother and my family, you know, you realize quickly, she did all this work and you know, created and bought property and if something were to happen to her, like you know, naturally you know, which will happen to us all and we pass away like literally the way it's set up with the how my family decided was, it's not a trust it kinda, you know, goes to kids And etc, etc, and all that. But literally like those kids now can just sell and be done with it. And it's done, which is fine, whatever they decide. And I started to think like, really? And I saw this growing up in Brooklyn and these properties in like Fort Greene and Bedstuy very valuable properties and the parents side, and then the kids just so sold it, or they didn't take care of it. It was like arguments over who and what, because maybe there was no estate plan. And then like, the wealth is squandered, like, fast and it's not even passed out like you, your kids get it, but then their grandkids don't get it, because the kids like, had all control. So the trust is able to help with that, right? Because you can, yes, more. Okay, so
Ifeoma Ibekwe 20:40
So, what you can do is, and when I talk about trust, and I want to be very clear, there are so many different types of trusts that you can set up. And there are so many different types of laws, for example, Texas is a community property strip state. So there's some even some other factors that we have in Texas, and I don't believe New York is a community property state. And so even in the way that you accumulate wealth, it might already be tied to your spouse in ways that it may not in other places. And so I just want to set that caveat, you see a lot of this where somebody dies, and you know, gentrification is, is everywhere. But so many people are losing assets, because of just the lack of proper planning. And some of it is systematic, systemic racism, that has set up these systems to basically set certain groups up to fail. Before I go into the trust conversation, there's a statistic that came out from prosperity now, it was a report in 2017, that said, black people are on track to have zero wealth by 2053. And it's just such a sobering statistic. Because I'm like, What does that even mean? It means that we're in crisis mode. And one of the things to know is like, when you talk about your grandmother, or even your parents, right, they're in a generation, the boomer generation, where I think boomers are slower now. But you know what I mean, like, that generation is about to have a huge wealth transfer in the next 20 years. So that could either be properly planned for like your family has helped your grandmother do, or that property could end up being squandered or sold because of the value of it. And that's, I believe that that's part of what leads to our wealth bleed is that intergenerational transfer, if you have a trust and say, you have a house, and you want to keep that house, within the family, their structures, and I won't go into it, where you can set it up, so that private property is protected, that those taxes can be paid for, because that's a lot of it, right? Okay, first, you had somebody who owned it had the homestead extension exemption or something like that, where it made it fine for them to live there. But when you give that property over, depending on how you transferred it, that could be a huge burden, a tax burden, financial upkeep burden. And that money is like cash, you know, people get excited over 5000, much less, if you have a million dollar property and three owners, what are the likelihood that they're going to agree? What are the likelihood that one can buy out the other person to share, it becomes almost impossible, you can use a trust to plan for these sorts of things.
Jamila Souffrant 23:22
And it's sturdy, and so I'm so glad we're getting into this because, you know, it really brought home to me, like this mission that I'm on to you know, build wealth for myself, and my kids and future kids. And part of that involves my condo that I own, and you know, even the house we own now, and I thought, you know, I feel like it is my place because I am the one that bought it, and I like did all the work to get it. But once you're gone, if you don't have a trust, they can do anything like, you know, your kids can just sell it, and then it's gone. And in my head, I'm like, I want this to stay like I don't even care. Like if they want to go live in it fine. And you know, like maybe in their younger years pre marriage kind of like, whatever they do that but I don't want them maybe to sell it. And so I started to think maybe that's like the path and my grandmother and you know, the older people, my family have all the right to do what they need to do with that property. Right. And her estate, if whatever. But for me, you know, I felt like the trust would be a better route and we already have our like estate plan, but we didn't set up a trust. So it just made me start thinking about how you know you can do all this work and build all this you know, and and all people asking me, how do I build wealth and how do I like it, save and invest? And then once you pass away, you know, even if your children mean well, it's not like you know, they're just like, okay, whatever, let's party, but it's like now they're more concerned about their family, then the wealth won't be passed down if they make a mistake or do something that you know, is not in line with what you thought. So I just think it's really important to have the trust conversation because when I was speaking to the lawyer, I just asked about the trust like he wasn't, you know, really, he was kind of saying more like, Oh, it's easier just to do the regular you know, and the turred the conversation and that was fine for that situation, but for my situation I want something different.
Ifeoma Ibekwe 25:01
And may I just say to that point, you know, a lot of lawyers. Okay, first of all, I have so many thoughts on this, there are very few black attorneys in the United States, I believe it's 5%. When you start drilling down to an estate, to an area like estate planning, there are so few of us, right, because part of it is a cultural competency. For so long we've been taught, just get a will, and it's good, right. But what happens to that property, when you leave it in your Will, it goes through a process called probate. There are people I've seen wills that to say, I'm writing this will and I don't want to go through probate, you know, and you're like, who wrote this, that's not how the law works. If you have a will, and you want that asset to be transferred, or someone's estate to be closed down, you have to go to court, if you go to court, it's a public record, they see the the creditors are able to make claims on the estate, if they see that somebody is receiving money, or that person who's passed away has debts, right. And so even if you want to leave this property to say a child, but they have a bunch of child support in arrears, or they have student loan debt, or they are going through a divorce, right, and all these other factors, that you can't see the future to know what their financial situation is. That's why you see so many people selling assets and getting the cash to satisfy debts. And so it's so important to figure out ways to pass it on in that example that you get for yourself, for example, there are ways to set it up where you could keep the condo. And that rental insurance could be the benefit for the beneficiaries and the trust, you know, and so it's like it can make their lives easier, without having them sell it. In order to just get cash right now, which will be gone. You know, usually when it's that quick, it goes that quickly, the best thing to do is to really structure it, and you can even structure trust generationally, there are people, you know, when I think of like Beyonce, and Jay Z talking about, I think that there's a song where they talk about their children's children's children are set.
Jamila Souffrant 27:08
Ifeoma Ibekwe 27:09
And I'm like, Yeah, they gotta trust. I hear these songs. And I'm like, their trust is funded, okay, when they pass away, they're good for generations. So that's kind of like the norm. If I could go back to that question you had about the joint tenancy with a right of survivorship, I get clients in the office saying things like, I can just put the name on the deed, right. And that way, when I die, my child will get it? Well, there are some tax consequences that come with that. And I'm not going to go into that. But it there's something called the step up in basis. Okay, so look that up. And there are arguments for why transferring money within your lifetime, may have more tax consequences, like capital gains, tax, and all these other types of taxes. Again, I'm not a CPA, but I know a little to be dangerous, okay. Don't take any tax advice for me your not my client. But basically, there are ways to pass on assets where, for example, if you purchase the property in your parent purchase a property in the, in the 60s, right, and you inherit it today, there was a huge accumulation of like equity, and it's just, it could be 10 times the amount, right. And so you want to be very careful in how you pass on that assets, there are ways to pass it on at that 1960 rate. And then there are ways to pass it on the 2021 rate, you don't want the 2021 rate. And so it's important to talk to an estate planner and your tax professional CPA, a financial planner, this is the team that I always think is so important having these people just as part of your team, so that you make sure that you pass on that property the best way and a lot of that can be done with designating a beneficiary upon death, because that's, that's one way people do it. Okay. That's how they are able, when you see people, you're like, How the heck are they affording that house? They're 25 they don't seem to go to work. Yeah, they probably have a trust, they probably just inherited that house at the price when they bought it for 30,000. And it's now 800,000. So that makes life easier for whoever you leave property to, if you can structure it correctly. So that joint tenancy with right of survivorship, a lot of people think that is a great plan. And it might be for certain assets. But start thinking beyond that when it comes to passing on your wealth.
Jamila Souffrant 29:34
Yeah, and if we go back to kind of just like the overall and again, I know the cost is going to vary by state and by you know, professional, but is there a range like is it it's more costly I'm assuming to do a trust upfront?
Ifeoma Ibekwe 29:48
I definitely think so. I mean, I know so because I do it. So it depends on the lawyer their their rates, the your state, the The size of your estate, whether they are flat fee, or whether they are hourly, right. So that's my caveat, you can get a basic estate plan done, that is very well done for free. So I never say don't do it, because you're scared of money. If you're a veteran, if you survived cancer, there are low Bono estate planning, there are some churches that will offer good estate plan. So definitely look at money is definitely you hear money and you're about to tune out, find another way, then you get people who, you know, you might be able to get your estate done for a couple of 1000s of dollars. And I have friends who've done it for 10 over $10,000, because their self trusts, and there's about setting up special needs trust, and there have complex planning issues. And that's in Texas, right? So you can all the way from free and very good. You know, there days where people are like we're doing medical directives, or if you are a health care worker, we do free medical directives for anyone who works in the hospital has to be that's going on a lot right now people give it I give away pro bono estate plans. And I also charge 1000s of dollars to do the same type of estate plan. So don't count it out as a possibility. And so that's a range that I would give you in my jurisdiction, I know that there are people who charge even more, depending on the size of the estate and other factors. But yeah, it can be very expensive, but I think a couple of $1,000 to get your basic estate plan done. And then when you add a trust, it goes up some more depending on what type of trust is a good range to know that you'll be in.
Jamila Souffrant 31:38
Right. And, you know, I know, when I was working for my job, they had the Hyatt legal plan, which included you know, some of the basic stuff, and that even my mom as a teacher, like in New York City teacher, they have, you know, a system in which they could get complimentary services. So that's important to note, but you know, taking it a step further, you do want it something really interesting. So, for me, and for, you know, black people in general, and even like, you know, there are just these nuances that other cultures may not get in, right, like so. They they're just like, why would you want to do that? That's more expensive, more issues just more complicated, where, you know, there's a deeper reason, you know, there's a, you know, where we're rushing to try to fix this wealth gap, and especially for our not just our community, but for our own families. So it's more important. So how do you find is there a directory? Like, you know, I know there's like therapy for black girls. Yeah, like that. And you can like find black therapist, but is there a directory for like black estate planners and legal help?
Ifeoma Ibekwe 32:35
Yes, there. I have one that I keep on my Instagram right now. It's a rudimentary one, I started because I was on clubhouse. And people were like, Well, do you know in New York, who do you know, in California, and so I've just started collecting names. I don't personally know all these people. But because there's so few of us as a courtesy, if you're looking for a black estate planning attorney, I haven't, I'm keeping a list. caveat. This is not an endorsement on how good they're going to be, because a lot of people might say their estate planning attorneys. But like the man who told you don't worry about a trust, it's easier just to do it this way. They may not know what they're talking about. And so part of it does take understanding a little bit more about what your goals are, and just finding out more information about estate planning. But yes, if you go on the link in my bio, I'm at thejustincaselawyer. And I've just kept a excel sheet I have about 50. Lawyers, I was so excited. This just started this year, in 2021. I have about 50 lawyers on the list. If anyone listening knows an estate planning lawyer, please contact me and I will add them to the list as well. And so that's one place to start.
Jamila Souffrant 33:44
I will link that definitely in the show notes for everyone.
Ifeoma Ibekwe 33:47
Yeah. And just to kind of circle back to something I said about leaving things out right in your will and that being visible to the public, right. And creditors, and people will read your will and see what you're leaving, it's all public, you can look it up in your state. One of the other benefits of having a trust is that it is now private, and creditors don't have access to it right. It doesn't it's not a tax shelter, as a lot of people think if I have a trust, I don't have to pay taxes. That's not what it is. But what it does is it allows you to maintain the asset that you're passing down to your loved ones without their situation, having to be public and squandered because they got to pay that back some debts or sell it because of a family situation. Or even if they have special needs, you don't want to kick them out of being able to receive federal benefits because, oh, they got a house in their name. You know, they have a house, you know. And so those are the sorts of things and I really wanted to make that point about the benefit of a trust. It's handled outside of the court system. Whereas if you just have a will, it will be handled publicly and in the court system.
Jamila Souffrant 34:55
I think for anyone who's just like maybe learning about these concepts and or heard them before and know they should do something. Hopefully this is like giving them more of a nudge to look further into it to take some action, you know, not kind of want to talk a little bit more about your journey. So, yeah, so you starting so like, what made you because I, you know, I've had lawyers on the podcast before. And I'm always curious to know, like, their journey into like law because some people said, they start out and he wants to do law, then they're like, okay, I realized that it wasn't for me, you know, you have your own business. And so I know just being a lawyer one and then being an entrepreneur and I know your mom. Right? So bouncing all that like finding your lane. Like, how did you come to this point? Because you seem very like, Okay, I know what I'm doing. This is working the way it's supposed to. But I know it's it's a behind the scenes. It's not as smooth. Yes.
Ifeoma Ibekwe 35:46
Yeah. So I was born on a Sunday. I like to say that because I was I was born on a Sunday. So it's a very interesting story. I was born in Nigeria. And when I was around 5 1986, amounting like showing my age, I moved to Dubai, because my dad was a pediatric radiologist, and he got a job working at the teaching hospital there, okay, as a professor. And so that was my first exposure to her career living in the Middle East. And growing up there until I was a tween, allowed me to, I attended a lot of international school that we would all live in these compounds, and not in the Branch Davidian way. But that's what they called, like, all the doctors, they were expats. And so all my friends, I mean, the majority of my friends had a doctor, Father, okay, because you know, the Middle East, or they had an engineer because it was oil, because I'm talking about the oil rich countries, or one of my best friends had a dad who was a pilot, right for the royal family. And so I was like, I'm not going to be a pilot, I don't even know what engineering is, I'm going to be a doctor. And that was what I thought I was going to do with my life. When 911 happened, I realized I hated it. I was in genetics and organic chemistry, I was not going to do that. And one day, my brother told me, he's like, you'd love to argue, why don't you become a judge? And I was like, let me Google that for you. You know, what does it take to become a judge? And I realized you could just take an LSAT. And so I wish I had a better story. But that's how I ended up becoming a lawyer. Because I didn't have to do any prerequisites like med school. And I got in to a great school. And the first 11 years of my life, I did education, law work for nonprofits, or a teachers union. So I did education law, and I did all sorts of trainings for superintendents and principals and school people about the law and the intersectionality in the schools. And after I had my third child, I have four kids, by the way, I had a complete shift in my career, and didn't know what I was going to do, I was actually going to stop being a lawyer. And one day a friend of mine said, You know, I work for this financial planner, she was a financial planner herself, but the guy they had doing wills was putting the wrong name on the wills. And she said, Do you do wills, and in my head, I was like I do now. If you could get referral business and not be dumb enough to put the wrong name, I already knew I was qualified. And that's how I entered the world of estate planning with this referral business. And I just learned a new area I pivoted, which is a great 2020 word, and just started doing that. And it's just grown exponentially, to the point where I have four employees and run a really successful law firm in from Austin, Texas, and soon to be Arkansas because I'm expanding.
Jamila Souffrant 38:41
Oh, I love that. And as you said, so if you're becoming a specialty or have a specialty in estate planning, do you need to take a special test? So as you mentioned, like you have a bunch of lawyers, so some people right now be like, Okay, I need to find a lawyer to help me. And they might go and search and look them up and or maybe go to your directory, how can they vet these lawyers? So is it experienced or if there is a test or something a specialty they have to take?
Ifeoma Ibekwe 39:04
Okay, so let me just do a disclaimer and say, I am not a board, certified estate planning attorney. There's a specialization for that in Texas, and I assume in other states where you can truly say you're a specialist. So I just call myself a professional. So I just wanted to put that out there because I know estate planners are listening. But if you're trying to vet someone, one of the best ways to do is to get on a consult with them, whether it's a complimentary one or a paid one. And as you learn about what you're trying to do, ask them about it. If they are not able to answer questions like How many times have you done this? What has been the outcome when you did it? What are some of the pitfalls just very basic? Do you know what you're talking about questions. Why do I need this? You always want to make sure and whenever you're hiring anybody that you are the client so you're the one who's doing the hiring, and they can answer the questions. in a way that makes sense to you, not talking about you and telling you what you need to do, but truly listening to your circumstances and being able to answer in ways that makes sense. I think so much of the legal profession has just existed with this, like, I am a lawyer, therefore I am, right. That's no longer you are an active consumer, there's information, you can watch videos, you can kind of piece together and interview the person. And so that would be the best tip I can give for finding a good estate planning attorney.
Jamila Souffrant 40:32
And also them not rushing you through an answer or making you feel like, you know, silly or dumb for a question, because not just lawyers, but other professionals, you know, who have more expertise, who have been doing this for years have sometimes have a tendency to just rush you through, because they've been talking about this all day, you have no clue. And then you feel like something's wrong with you. Or maybe I shouldn't ask that question. And I do want to just bring this up, I'm trying to pick up the word, because I read it in a book, the tipping point, or maybe something else, but it talks about to just like, in our, you know, for a lot of people, it's not necessarily tied to race, but also just a class and how you grew up that you're not taught to challenge authority and to ask questions,
Ifeoma Ibekwe 41:10
cultural to Yes,
Jamila Souffrant 41:11
yes, cultural to definitely right. And so we have to be aware of this when we are now you know, in positions where we're not hiring, we are paying people to help us do something. And I've even caught it in myself where, you know, and I'm very outspoken, I have a lot of questions you can my husband's like you like, you really need to, like, ask this waiter all these questions, right. And so but still, in some instances, you can feel a little, like, maybe I'm asking too many questions, or they're rushing you through, and you're not following your gut on someone. And so I want to bring that up, because that is actually a thing. And if you're feeling that, it's not on you, it's like you are hiring someone to help you, they need to either have the patience or not, if that's your style, and they can't handle it, and then not the person for you.
Ifeoma Ibekwe 41:51
They're not a good fit, right? There are others out there. And even when I have my list, you know, and if somebody comes back, and it says I didn't have a good experience, I kind of want to know that not because I'm the gatekeeper. But because I know if I'm referring someone, first of all, if you ask me for a referral, I'm going to give you people that I have sat down with and had a substantive conversation about their philosophy, they might be completely tone deaf when it comes to issues relating to black families and the complexities of how they're formed, right. And the other factors about how people are supported, or maybe there's some kinship care that's outside of the government system, where that money is not immediately available, but should be protected, that they have no clue about. And so it we do have to work harder, especially because my white guy counterparts, they are not checking for y'all at all, it doesn't matter how much money you have, you're not their target audience, they have repeat business, because generationally, the families they serve their 20 year old goes to an annual meeting about what's going on with the trust and what to file in their taxes that year. So that's already repeat business. And so we kind of have to shift that norm and help each other. And so if I can be of service to anyone, I really do put myself out there, reach out and ask because that way, I can give you a quality referral by know someone, or if somebody else in your state knows someone that can also kind of give the parallel experience for you.
Jamila Souffrant 43:21
Right. Okay, so last thing I want to end on. And I don't know if this is actually opening up even more just longer dialogue, but you put something you said something in the forum when we were like kind of going back and forth about this interview, and you said prioritizing margin in one's life by resting and replenishing. And so I know we're pivoting here, you know, 2020 word, but I thought it was really interesting, because considering all the things that you juggle, and people listening now about everything, they're juggling, what do you mean by that?
Ifeoma Ibekwe 43:49
Yeah. Oh, I'm a big sleep enthusiast. I am a sleeper. I mean, we're in a pandemic. So that's made it even more possible. I'm like, I don't have anywhere to be, but my bed. And so one of the things I'm so passionate about is rest. For example, I don't work on Fridays, I have built out a team so that I am not everything to everyone at home with my kids are 7/5/3 and 10 months, like I can't do everything right. I don't have a nanny, we really are living in quite a bubble here. And so part of that means that the way that I structure my time, allows for rest and and sleep and like a great sleep situation and not always toiling and working. You know, over the break. I was on clubhouse a lot because it was exciting, and it was new. But now that I'm back to work because I shut down for the holiday for a couple of weeks. But now that I'm back to work, I'm like, Oh no, that's not sustainable because messing with my sleep. And so I really do recommend like, you know, there are certain books out there. There's a book called The power of when by Dr. Michael Bryas And he talks about how people sleep. Are you a morning person? Are you sporadic and still feel rested? Right? Are you a night owl? Are you just a bear? I'm a bear. So I just got to get eight, nine hours a night. And so that's part of the rest, but also unplugging and getaways. Like I'll do a staycation in town, I did one for my birthday for three nights, I was away from my family a mile and a half away in an Airbnb. But just you got to prioritize that. Because I think so much when we think about women, especially mothers. And if you're an entrepreneur, or you're working in these times, you see so many women leaving the workforce, we are underpaid we are we do more and get paid less for counterparts with the Equal Education along all kinds of demographics. And so part of the rest is revolution. To me, it is so important because I want to be around to see this statistic about black wealth, being zero being complete crap in 20 years, right? Because I did stuff right now to get the word out and help people understand what role they play for their children. But I also rested along the way so that it didn't kill me. So I was just like a rest enthusiast, sleep enthusiast, and I'm very passionate about resting.
Jamila Souffrant 46:20
I love that. And you said I don't have a nanny. So my last question because I'm like, don't have a nanny, and you rest and you sleep. And you have four kids. So is it more to your partner is really involved, obviously, in helping the household run?
Ifeoma Ibekwe 46:33
Absolutely. I am. I'm very modern, I don't know what to call it. But I'm working in you're work. And so we're working. So I have an amazing husband, and he is an academic coach, and he works for himself as well. Yes, has his own entrepreneurial setup. I work in the mornings until early afternoon. And then he sort of starts his job late afternoon to evenings after school is over. So he is an academic coach K through graduate students. He's in charge of like, right now I'm recording this podcast, 10am Central. He's with the kids, you know, he does school. And then I outsource, you know, I have a 10 month old, but I hate doing laundry. So my laundry and the baby's laundry goes out. He is in charge of everybody else's laundry because he likes doing laundry. But I can't wait on his schedule for when he does laundry. And so just little boundaries. And then another book that's very good on division of labor, for those of you who have spouses or partners is called Drop the Ball by Tiffany do foo drop the ball, y'all when you can't get to the other stuff, like you got to you've got to drop it sometimes. And that's how we live. And it's, it hasn't been hard in our pandemic, thank God because we already had these sort of structures. Whereas for some people, it was just an unreal how much it takes to live like this.
Jamila Souffrant 47:50
Oh my gosh, I love that you shared that. And I see so so many similarities. And people will look at me too, with like, how are you doing all these things? I'm like, I'm not doing it alone, because my husband does a lot of the work too. So I think that's really important. And I'm so glad we touched upon it. I know we could probably just have a whole nother conversation about this because I do think this impacts everything like your capacity, your energy, to give to earn money to do all the things that you want to do in life, which is all you know, financial independence and freedom are all rooted in the energy you have, right? Because what's any good of it, if you have no energy, you're burnt out. When you have all the money,
Ifeoma Ibekwe 48:24
it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter. People are stroking out at 40. So you got to rest. You got to take some time and it's rest is rebellion to for black for black people.
Jamila Souffrant 48:36
I love it. Thank you so much Iffy. Please let everyone know where they can find out more about you.
Ifeoma Ibekwe 48:41
Yes, if you want to find me, you can go to my website IffyIbekwe.com I'll have all I'm sure you'll have all of that information in your show notes. Or if you are looking for legal services in Texas and you want a complimentary consultation, you can go to willsintexas.com. And then you can also find me on Instagram Facebook at clubhouse I love clubhouse, but I don't know how well this will age. But right now it's amazing. And I speak about estate planning and the intersectionality within an investing and real estate and planning for your parents and all of those things. So if you would just like to learn more, that's where you can find me most weeks.
Jamila Souffrant 49:22
Love it. Thank you so much again.
Ifeoma Ibekwe 49:23
Jamila Souffrant 49:29
Okay, juniors, I hope you learned a lot from this conversation with iffy if anything else, I want you to really start looking into this stuff. I know you and you hear it, it sounds good. You say you're going to do something and then you don't. But I really want you to take action to really start the next steps. You know, like she says, We of course don't want anything to happen. But you know, eventually at one day, even just natural causes we will be leaving this earth unfortunately, or fortunately the way you look at it but even so, you Want to make sure that you are prepared at least your family is prepared to be able to take care of you and understand what you need. So I don't care if you feel like you have nothing like you have no assets, even if you get that health care directive, get started on that. So I hope this episode provides you with a little fuel to help you get started.
Don't forget you can get the episodes Show Notes for this episode by going to journeytolaunch.com or click the description of wherever you're listening to this and you can still grab your jumpstart guide for free to help you on your journey to financial freedom by going to journeytolaunch.com/ jumpstart.
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