5 minute read

What Barbie Teaches Us About Estate Planning

If Barbie can grow up and make it in the real world, so can we! Keep reading to learn insightful estate planning tips, courtesy of the one and only Barbie.

The highly anticipated summer blockbuster, Greta Gerwig’s Barbie, hits theaters this month. But this movie is not your standard Barbie adventure. We got a sneak peek from the latest trailer that left us thinking. In the middle of a disco dance party, Margot Robbie’s Barbie asks, “do you guys ever think about dying?” The music scratches to a halt and her Barbie friends look shocked and confused by the sudden existential inquiry made in true Barbie fashion. 

In a surreal twist of fate, Barbie is grown up and is starting to ask some serious questions. While the film is a comedic satire of America’s favorite piece of plastic, its trailers tease that it could be quite thought-provoking. 

While you may have once been a kid who played with dolls — it’s okay if you still do, we get it  —  today you are in the pink Corvette driver seat of your own life. If Barbie’s thinking about her mortality, then it’s time for an estate plan. The summer film will be a fun reminder to protect your assets and take control of your future, just like Barbie. 

Household Financial Planning: An Empowerment Opportunity

Several studies have shown that while more American women are involved in household finances, there is still a lack of confidence when it comes to long-term decision-making.

For example, a 2018 Prudential study showed that while female involvement in household financial decisions has grown by a third in the past ten years, their financial confidence has not improved. UBS Global Wealth Management has also found that globally, women tend to manage day-to-day expenses yet leave the long-term decisions to men. The study shared some quotes from survey respondents including: “my spouse never encouraged me” and “my spouse knows more.”

However, this creates a case where women can empower themselves by starting to make important financial decisions, such as creating a retirement plan or putting an estate plan into place. 

Rather, not doing so is a risk. Not only do women live longer on average, their likelihood of becoming a widow or divorcee also increases. The study found that 74 percent of women discover negative financial surprises when they are widowed or divorced.  Women who take ownership over long-term planning gain several benefits, such as experiencing a higher confidence in their own financial future, making fewer mistakes, and being less stressed in general about their finances. 

It’s time to Add Estate Planning to the Dreamhouse Agenda

These studies make an excellent argument that point out why financial planning is a form of empowerment. Not only will you better protect yourself long-term, you’ll feel more confident and also feel less stressed, which is vital to your health. 

Further, if you are the decision-making regarding finances, then you should also be thinking about putting an estate plan in place for several reasons:

  1. Protecting Loved Ones: Estate planning ensures that in the event of the financial decision-maker's death, their loved ones are protected. Without a plan, the distribution of assets may not align with their wishes, causing unnecessary stress and conflicts among family members.

  2. Control Your Assets: Estate planning allows financial decision-makers to have control over how their assets are distributed. This includes designating beneficiaries for bank accounts, investment portfolios, life insurance policies, and other assets. It ensures that their assets go to the intended recipients.

  3. Minimize Taxes:  Proper estate planning can help minimize taxes and administrative expenses that may arise during the transfer of assets. By utilizing strategies like trusts and gifting, financial decision-makers can potentially reduce the burden on their heirs.

  4. Special Care for Dependents: If the financial decision-maker has dependents, such as children or elderly family members, estate planning allows them to make provisions for their care and financial well-being after they are gone.

  5. Avoid Probate: A well-structured estate plan can help avoid or streamline the probate process, which can be time-consuming, costly, and public. This enables a smoother transfer of assets to beneficiaries.

  6. Business Succession: If the financial decision-maker owns a business, estate planning can ensure a smooth transition of ownership or management to the next generation or a chosen successor, safeguarding the company's future.

  7. Healthcare Decisions: Estate planning includes tools like a living will or healthcare directive that allow financial decision-makers to express their medical preferences and appoint someone they trust to make medical decisions on their behalf if they become incapacitated.

  8. Peace of Mind: Having a comprehensive estate plan gives financial decision-makers peace of mind, knowing that their affairs are in order and that their loved ones will be taken care of according to their wishes.

  9. Charitable Giving: Estate planning allows financial decision-makers to leave a lasting legacy by supporting charitable causes or institutions that are meaningful to them.

  10. Life in General: Estate planning should be revisited and updated regularly to reflect changes in family dynamics, financial circumstances, or legislative updates. As financial decision-makers navigate various stages of life, adjusting the estate plan ensures it remains relevant and effective.

Ultimately, estate planning is not just about wealth transfer; it's about thoughtful preparation, ensuring financial security for loved ones, and making decisions that align with your values and aspirations. By taking the time to plan ahead, you will not only feel more confident but have peace of mind, which are both invaluable to your state of well-being.

This Barbie is Creating an Estate Plan

Now we can get to the fun part! Based on the Barbie movie trailers, we can glean that the plot centers around Barbie questioning her entire existence. If she’s thinking about things like her own mortality, then IRL (in real life), she should also be creating her estate plan. 

With this said, here is a fun exercise: what would Barbie’s estate plan look like?

  1. Dreamhouse: Barbie's fabulous dreamhouse would undoubtedly be one of her most significant assets. This luxurious mansion, complete with all the amenities and gadgets, would need to be included in her estate plan.

  2. Fashion Empire: Barbie's extensive collection of clothing, accessories, and her fashion-related businesses, representing her successful fashion empire, would be considered valuable assets in her estate.

  3. Car Collection: Barbie's impressive fleet of cars, including convertibles, sports cars, and other vehicles from her various careers, would be part of her estate's tangible assets.

  4. Investments: Barbie would likely have investments in stocks, bonds, real estate, and other financial instruments, as savvy financial planning is essential for any successful businesswoman.

  5. Intellectual Property: Barbie's name, likeness, and all her intellectual property rights would be carefully managed and accounted for in her estate plan.

  6. Toys and Collectibles: Barbie's extensive collection of dolls, accessories, and vintage items would be considered valuable assets, especially as they hold sentimental and historical value.

  7. Charitable Giving: Barbie's philanthropic endeavors, if she has any, would be part of her estate plan to continue supporting causes close to her heart. She could even bequeath assets listed above to one of the causes she cares about, such as girls’ education, children’s well-being, or environmental conservation.

  8. Trust Funds: Barbie may have set up Trust funds for family members, friends, or charitable organizations, ensuring her wealth benefits those she cares about even after her passing.

  9. Digital Assets: In today's world, even Barbie would have digital assets, such as social media accounts, online businesses, or virtual properties, which need to be managed or transferred according to her wishes.

  10. Life Lessons and Values: While not tangible assets, Barbie's estate plan could also include guidelines or instructions on how her legacy should be used to promote positive values, empower young girls, and encourage education.

Barbie hits theaters on July 21, 2023 and we will finally find out what Barbie learns on her wild existential journey. It’s an educated guess that she will likely evolve and make changes to her dreamy lifestyle. While we can’t be sure if Barbie has an estate plan in place, perhaps in our imagination, she will make some changes based on her new discoveries. Although this has been a fun exercise to imagine Barbie's estate plan (which is definitely pink and sparkly), the real importance of having a well-structured estate plan remains. Barbie is all about female education and empowerment, and she would definitely be an advocate for the empowerment of women through financial and estate planning!

If you’re creating your own estate plan, know that you can do so easily from the comfort of your own home. Trust & Will has created an estate planning platform that is seriously with the times that even Barbie wouldn’t be able to resist! Click here to take our quiz and find out what kind of estate plan best suits your world.

Is there a question here we didn’t answer? Browse more topics in our learn center or chat with a live member support representative! 

Trust & Will is an online service providing legal forms and information. We are not a law firm and we do not provide legal advice.


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