Don’t Be Like Lord Grantham

As Kelly Greene notes in the Wall Street Journal, regardless of the size of our estates, we can still learn valuable lessons from the financial mishaps occurring on Downton Abbey. For instance, “The most obvious take-away from ‘Downton Abbey’ is to diversify investments, a lesson the earl learns after squandering much of his American wife’s fortune on an investment in a Canadian railway filing for bankruptcy.” As beautiful as the estate is, “in modern times, inheriting an old house often is more trouble than it’s worth. Many parents overestimate a property’s emotional importance to their heirs. And the heirs sometimes feel a sense of duty to keep the house, even if it isn’t worth the expense, says François Sicart, chairman of Tocqueville Asset Management in New York.” Other tips include setting up trusts and medical directives, not to mention creating and updating a will before a child is born.

Which reminds me of a few more tips: Fasten your seatbelt. Your family OB/GYN is probably your best bet when it comes to delivering a baby, which should take place in a hospital. And lock your door at night.

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