PRESERVING A LEGACY AND PROVIDING A FINANCIAL SAFETY NET TO YOUR FAMILY AND LOVED ONES AFTER YOU PASS IS A PERSONAL, NUANCED AND UNCOMFORTABLE ASPECT OF FINANCIAL AND LIFE PLANNING.
Advanced planning for a substantial family wealth transfer is paramount to the success of the transfer as well as the preservation of a positive family dynamic. Transferring your wealth to benefit future generations requires communication, listening, and understanding. Here are some tips for having family money conversations early and often.
Goals and Objectives
There are often several participants involved in family wealth transfer. Having a strong understanding of each participant’s objectives for their lives and the money they may stand to inherit can help you get a better handle on how and when you might choose to distribute the wealth. Having a candid goals and objectives conversation with everyone who you plan to leave money to can help make the transfer manageable, fair and void of discord. There are things that you might not have considered that can come to light in these conversations. The clarity can be empowering and give you a new perspective on the choices you are making when it comes to your bequest.
A rock-solid estate plan requires that all estate planning documents are in order and up to date. It should be directly communicated in these documents what level of care you wish to have in the event you are incapacitated or unable to speak for yourself. Power of Attorney and Advanced Directives deal explicitly with these types of situations and are very important to have in case you cannot participate in the decision-making process due to physical or psychologically incapacity.
It is important that people who are in the position to care for you in the event of extreme illness or death know where key documents and papers are located. You should have a list of your key documents and papers and where they are located. With the onset of technology and the storage of more and more of our financial and personal information in the cloud, you should consider making a list of all of your logins and passwords and keeping it on paper and ina digital file that is password protected on your computer. Storing the master password to this document with your other essential documents like your will and life insurance policy can ensure that someone will be able to find it in the event you are unable to manage your online accounts.
The Role an Advisor Plays in Legacy Planning
Financial advisors can act in a facilitative role during family conversations about inheritances, intentions and legacy planning. There is a great deal of planning that comes with identifying and preparing for wealth transfers and there can sometimes be a chasm between what people want and aspire to and what is a sound, strategic and responsible approach to building wealth and preserving it. Helping to foster a productive discussion between those who are leaving the legacy and those who are receiving it can align differing opinions and assumptions with those that are the most responsible and effective plans for the wealth and intentions at stake.
Financial advisors have these types of discussions on a regular basis. A financial advisor can look at something subjectively that may be a source of emotion or aggravation for interested parties. We participate in these discussions often with our clients and might be able to offer alternative solutions to those being discussed that provide compromise where there is stalemate or confidence where there is doubt.
What can be overlooked in these conversations is often the issue that must be considered first. Prior to establishing a plan for your wealth transfer, you must have a solid plan for your needs and goals while you are living, a retirement plan that is fully funded, and a plan for your care as you age. Those objectives must be met before considering what, if anything, will be handed down to the next generation.
Of Most Importance
The reality of family money conversations is that it can be challenging to see eye-to-eye on everything. Parents may have substantially different views on each matter and it may be that their choices aren’t aligned with their children’s wishes for their inheritance. Children may feel that their parents are not preparing properly for their later years and are holding onto independence when it may be time to let go a little. There are many factors that make up this type of planning. What we advise is to start early and talk often, listen to the people who love you and who you love, don’t be afraid to seek advice and make sure that your retirement is planned for before you plan for what you will leave behind. As always, we are here to discuss this and any other planning questions, concerns, needs or goals. To schedule a discovery appointment with us please email us at email@example.com or subscribe to our newsletter for ongoing resources and planning tools.