Advice on Reviewing Family Legacy Plans

Passing assets through generations can be a nuanced process. Assets are routinely an emotionally difficult issue, and a loved one’s plans for transferring assets can trigger various reactions from those left behind.

Data shows that by at least 2045, almost $75 trillion in assets will be transferred to heirs while charities will receive an additional $12 trillion. The size of many transfers between generations exaggerates why families should create as well as discuss comprehensive legacy plans.

Our lawyers routinely work with clients to create a detailed multi-generational plan where family members join together in a neutral and safe space for the person facing the end of life or incapacity to discuss their financial as well as non-financial goals with younger generations. This article reviews some helpful advice families should follow who want to have successful family legacy plans.

Preparation Is Critical

For older individuals who want to bring their family together to review legacy plans as well as the future of the passage of wealth, preparing before meetings is critical. Legacy plans should be carefully drawn out ahead of time, but detailed consideration should be given about the meeting. It’s a wise idea to prepare and practice detailed conversations about estate planning goals. It’s also vital to assess the amount of information you should exchange with loved ones. Taking these actions lets the person preparing for the end take control during meetings.

Utilize a Detached Third Party

The person you requested to be a third party should be either a financial advisor, a lawyer or an estate planning professional. A third party can guide a meaningful conversation and facilitate the party facing the end of life or incapacity in articulating their plans and preparing the younger generation for what lies ahead including necessary tasks to make sure that everyone is on the same page.

Preparing for Difficult Conversations

Before family meetings, you should imagine how family members will react to your choices. You should also share specific details about what choices are made. Posting sensitive conversations early and preparing a response ahead of time can help decide the best strategy for approaching family conversations.

Appreciate the Meeting Need Not Disclose Dollars

The older generation often feels compelled to define exactly how much will be passed to beneficiaries including charities. Sometimes, it’s more beneficial to keep conversations high-level so families do not get caught in discussions about who should receive what.

Uncomfortable Conversations about Estate Planning

You should discuss your goals instead of money. Understand that inheritances need not always be equal among beneficiaries. This means that one beneficiary might receive assets from a gift of an inheritance while another sibling benefits from having a trust established. Trusts can address generational legacy plans in case children end up having descendants.

You should leave the meeting with an outline of specific rules and expectations. The goal of these conversations is for the person whose estate plan is at the heart of the matter to address their wishes about assets as well as other meaningful things and have loved ones understand what is expected of them.

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