Early in your children’s lives, you can share your values, family history, and insights through light-hearted conversation and stories centered on the beliefs and decisions that shaped your successes, failures, and your vision for the future.
Next generation education and mentoring is often the key to successfully passing on your wealth and achieving your legacy building objectives. A good steward of a family’s resources prepares their heirs for the responsibilities and decisions that come with inheriting wealth. Since family financial discussions can sometimes be quite challenging, it helps to empower your heirs to share their hopes and dreams to keep the discussions mutually engaging, and encourage them to develop their own sense of personal worth and values.
Once your intended heirs know about basic financial planning, the conversation should move toward sharing information about the ‘structures’ of your estate planning to date. As you feel more comfortable that your heirs are growing and maturing, you can add additional details about your family’s finances. Let maturity and level of trust be your guide to deciding how much information to share with your heirs. In our practice, we see that there is not a perfect timeline to fit all families.
Express your words of wisdom in a Spiritual Will, a lasting expression of your hopes and family’s unique story. This document outlines your ideals and values, as well as your dreams and vision for the future. It provides your heirs with a written record of your legacy wishes and helps heirs understand what you are entrusting to them. Get to know your children individually in order to understand their capabilities to manage money and control the freedoms wealth can create.
You should share your Spiritual Will with your team of professional advisors to establish clarity and support a shared mission around your intentions. Building unity of purpose can help promote harmony and functionality within your family across the generations.
Consider holding an annual family governance meeting to encourage collaboration and direction within your family. Update your heirs about your estate planning as it relates to your family’s living legacy. Discuss what planning still needs attention. Always remember that generational differences in values and beliefs exist, and allow your heirs to express their wishes. When a wide range of values, maturity, and conflicting dynamics exist, consider involving a professional third party to moderate emotional discussions. Your wealth advisor may be an ideal facilitator and advocate helping ease communications and ensure your family legacy flourishes for generations to come.
Greg Hammond, CFP®, CPA and Ron Ware, JD are personal legacy advisors and wealth impact strategists who help people grow and preserve wealth, plan for retirement and manage their charitable giving. See how you can build a legacy of your values, influence and money and begin the conversation today. Get your family legacy conversation starters here. Contact Greg at (800) 416-1655 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Contact Ron at (781) 489-9800, or email@example.com.