We’re in the thick of the winter months, and sometimes there’s nothing that feels better than cozying up on the couch with something warm to drink and a great TV show to binge on.
If you’re going to get horizontal and enjoy some passive entertainment anyway, why not choose something that can be of value? We’ve hand-picked 6 television shows that talk about estate planning and are absolutely binge-worthy.
Why are these valuable you ask? Well, of course some of these plot lines can be a bit extraordinary (it’s entertainment, after all), but what each of these television shows share in common is that they touch on important estate planning themes. They can help bring up different scenarios that may have never occurred to you, and can certainly get those cogs turning. We invite you to think about your own estate plans while watching these series.
The Top 5 Estate Planning TV Shows
Netflix and chill. Watching TV is a great way to unwind and relax, which is a constructive method of self-care in itself. However, entertainment is something we consume, so what we choose to watch can have an influence on our mindset.
That’s why we are recommending some binge-worthy TV shows that touch on estate planning. They serve the dual purpose of providing entertainment, but also to get you to think about important estate planning topics that can help you form your own opinions. Better yet, maybe they’ll even inspire you to establish or uplevel your own estate plan!
Here are our top picks for TV shows that you won’t regret watching. You can stream these shows and more on Apple TV or your preferred streaming service.
HBO’s drama Succession is an estate-planning must watch. It’s in the title! The series tells a dramatic story about the dysfunctional Roy family, owners of the media conglomerate Waystar RoyCo. Although the family and company are entirely fictional, it is rumored that their story has been inspired by real-life families such as the Murdochs, Disney, the Robertsm, and the Redstones.
Logan Roy is the patriarch of the family and the Waystar company, while his adult children Kendall, Shiv, and Roman battle to become their father’s successor. To make matters worse, it seems as though Logan may be getting some twisted enjoyment out of pitting his children against one another. Logan is aging and deals with health issues throughout the show, leaving viewers to beg the question of why he hasn’t made a decision and drawn a line in the sand.
Why hasn’t Logan publicly named a successor? Is there something in his Trust, Will, and business succession plan that he’s scheming but hasn’t divulged? Has he orchestrated these political struggles to see which child will eventually come out on top as the worthy successor of the multi-billion dollar empire?
Things are heating up in Season 3, released in October 2021, yet much remains to be seen. Join in on the diabolical fun!
2. Downton Abbey
If you think an English period piece would be boring, think again. Downton Abbey received acclaim from critics around the world and won many awards, including three Golden Globes and a Primetime Emmy Award. (The series received 27 nominations, the most of any international series in television history.)
Downton Abbey tells a story of the fictional Crawley family and the hereditary Earls of Grantham. Earl Robert and Countess Cora of Grantham have three daughters and no sons. However, English law in the early 20th century required that the title and estate of Downton Abbey be passed to a male heir.
The first season follows the Granthams as they search for their next living male heir, who happens to be a distant cousin named Matthew Crawley. The story unravels as the family and their servants adjust to this new heir who refuses to embrace the aristocratic lifestyle.
Downton Abbey continues on with 5 additional series and two feature films, all of which touch on estate planning themes.
3. Insecure (Season 2)
Insecure is a comedy series created by and starring Issa Rae. Issa and Molly are two best friends living in Los Angeles, and the series follows their unique story arcs as they deal with their own flaws, insecurities and challenges. This is all the while trying to embrace adulthood in their 30s, navigating awkward situations, keeping true to one’s own identity, and understanding what it means to be a black woman today.
This show is not only hilarious and highly relatable, it touches on an important variety of social and racial issues and is a creative commentary on the black experience.
One of the subplots of Season 2 relates to Molly and her aging parents. As an attorney, she finds it pressing that her parents establish an estate plan. She feels even more pressed when her mother suffers a stroke and finds out that it wasn’t her first. Over the course of the season, she has open and honest conversations with her parents about planning an estate. She struggles when her parents seem hesitant and uncomfortable when the topic of estate planning is brought up, and initially, they try to procrastinate and sweep it under the carpet. She eventually enlists the help of close friend Kelli to serve as a neutral third party who can help rally around her parents to help them get their estate plan in order.
Insecure likely portrays one of the most realistic and relatable depictions of what it’s like for a Millennial who is worried about their parents. It is around this age that we begin to realize that our parents won’t live forever. At times, they need to “parent up,” when their parents are not ready to face this reality themselves.
The series does an excellent job of depicting this narrative. Ultimately, Molly succeeds by encouraging open and honest conversations and enlisting the help of an expert.
4. Modern Family
In the mood for a light-hearted sitcom? Modern Family is hilarious, and yet it manages to tackle some sensitive topics included blended families, adoption, and same-sex couple family planning.
The series takes a funny but honest take on modern approaches to managing family relationships, and with that comes the important topic of estate planning.
Want to skip to the good part? “Ringmaster Keifth” in Season 8 centers around Jay, Gloria, and their son Joe. Jay and Gloria agree that they need to create an estate plan to appoint a guardian for Joe, should anything unexpected happen to them. Hilariously, Gloria laments that putting such a plan in place will make her die faster.
All jokes aside, picking a guardian proves to be a difficult task for the couple. The episode follows the couple as they weigh the pros and cons of each of their adult children in raising their youngest son. Luckily, they are able to arrive at a decision based on the advice of a family member.
Although hilarious, this episode tackles the worst fear of many parents: who will take care of their beloved child or children should they pass away unexpectedly? Selecting a guardian is a difficult but non-negotiable step in your Estate Plan if you are a parent.
Click here to get our guide on appointing the right guardian for your children.
5. A Series of Unfortunate Events
Last but not least, tune into A Series of Unfortunate Events if you have a preference for fantasy. This Netflix-adaptation of the children’s classic stars Neil Patrick Harris, but not in the way you’d imagine.
He portrays the diabolical Count Olaf, who is named the guardian of the Baudelaire orphans: Violet, Klaus and Sunny.
The orphans are investigating their parents’ mysterious death, yet they are continuously interrupted by Count Olaf’s vicious attempts to get his hands on their inheritance. Luckily, the smart children foil Olaf’s plans at every twist and turn, outsmarting him each step of the way.
Although the story takes place in a fantasy world, and with imaginary laws, the takeaway is very real: an ineffective Estate Plan could create a world of trouble.
Binge-Watching TV Could Be Productive After All
There’s no need to feel guilty if you found yourself binge-watching any of the recommended television shows. Constructive rest is great, and it’s even better if you got any valuable takeaways from them.
Our hope is that consuming this fantastic entertainment might inspire you to create or update an Estate Plan of your own! There is much to learn from these larger-than-life stories, with the main idea being that having a set, effective estate plan can save your loved ones from a world of trouble.
Ready to get started? We can help you establish your Estate Plan today! Take our quiz to find out how you should get started.
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