The idea of sitting down with your family and discussing a plan for the future – in terms of wealth inheritance and transfers – may seem daunting to some but it is absolutely necessary.
Having a conversation and developing an inheritance plan can be emotional but it will benefit you and your family when the time comes. This is the time to discuss and understand the goals, values, and ambitions of each person and to think about the common ground and then make sure your Estate Planning documents (and your assets and liabilities) accurately reflect them.
So What Are We Discussing?
Each family member must fully understand each other’s goals and values and be prepared to discuss ways to establish a common ground. Those who are currently in control of the money, prior to the transfer occurring, may have plans for the future that will influence the plan that is established. The purpose of the discussion is to get these ideas on the table so that the family can address them and reduce the potential stress that may occur. After your gone is not the time to surprise your loved ones.
In addition to discussing goals and objectives, it is necessary to address the logistics and the reality of establishing the documents that will drive your estate planning and to think about the possible scenarios that could occur. There are certain questions that should be asked – who will take care of the parents should they need it? Who will have control of the assets? These questions will need to be answered and the discussion should occur sooner rather than later.
In a world that is dominated by technology, it is common for these accounts and documents to be managed digitally and it is important to make sure that each family member will know how to access them in the future and have the right to. It’s become increasingly difficult to actually inventory assets at death because so many people have access to accounts online and spouses and children are often kept out of the loop.