Last week, we lost one of the greatest characters of this generation in Frank Costanza. Played by Jerry Stiller, Frank was undoubtedly one of the most memorable characters on Seinfeld. For my blog this week, I thought I would take a trip down memory lane to revisit some of Frank Constanza’s greatest moments and see what we Estate Planning tips we can take away from him.
In Season 6, Episode 17, Frank and Cramer invite a piece of clothing for men with large breasts. A fight ensues over the name of the garment, and the idea never gets off the ground. Let’s assume for a second the Manssiere became the hottest item of clothing that year, and Frank and Cramer had an instant success on their hand. (Much more successful than the Urban Sombrero.)
When you have a successful business idea with someone other than your spouse, it is essential to make sure you have a proper business and succession plan in place.
In the event of the death or disability of one of the owners, the remaining own-er could be paired up with someone they never expected. I’m sure it would be awkward for Kramer to talk about Manssiere sizes with Estelle. That is why all businesses, big and small, should have a succession plan.
The Move to Florida
In Season 7, Episode 15, Frank and Estelle decide to move to Florida. The move to Florida is mostly to spite the Seinfelds, and Frank and Estelle do not wind up going. However, had they gone, it would have been vital for them to update their Estate Planning documents.
Idaho is continuously ranked as one of the best places to retire due to the low cost of living and generally nice climate. However, your Estate Plan must be updated if you moved here, as documents prepared in other states might not conform to local laws.
In Season 6, Episode 24, Eileen thinks her Korean manicurists are making fun of her, so she brings Frank with her since he is fluent in Korean. At the shop, Frank reunites with an old flame, Kim, from Korea, and takes her out on a date. (Frank and Estelle are separated at this time). After Frank uses his “stopping short” move on Kim, Kim leaves and tells Frank she never wants to see him again.
Had Frank and Kim’s relationship blossomed into a marriage, it would have been important for Frank to update his Estate Plan. Had he died without updating his Will, Kim would be considered an “omitted spouse.” Had Frank and Kim bought a house together, it might be regarded as community property, which means that George might never receive it. Updating your Estate Plan is one of the most important things to do if your life changes.
A Festivus for the Rest of Us
Finally, in Season 9, Episode 10, Frank introduces the world to Festivus. According to the Episode, Festivus occurs on December 23 and includes a Festivus dinner, an unadorned aluminum Festivus pole, practices such as the “Airing of Grievances” and “Feats of Strength”, and the labeling of easily explainable events as “Festivus miracles.”
When you are designing your Estate Plan, you might want to make sure that the traditions you started stay alive after you pass away. While George and Estelle might not want Festivus to continue, Frank could leave his Festivus Pole and other Festivus heirlooms to Kramer. It is essential to have these conversations with your family to see who wants what.
I hope you found this trip down memory lane interesting. I know I am going to go back and watch old Seinfeld reruns and get my fill of Frank one more time.
If you have questions about your current Estate Plan, or just want to talk about Seinfeld some more, you can book a Strategy Session with our firm HERE.