Have you and your spouse worked hard to accumulate your wealth? You’ve probably spent long nights in the office, or built a business, while trying to balance a life at home and raise a family. This is common amongst households and often the hard work pays off through the luxury of financial freedom and a work optional lifestyle. Along the way, you’ve probably established an estate plan or talked about your healthcare wishes to one another, but are your heirs crystal clear on these important decisions?
Financial planning should be a family affair. Think about it, you’ve worked your whole life to save, invest and build the lifestyle you want to have. Now you’re at the point where you’re meeting with your financial advisor, tax professional and estate planner. They all know your situation and your wishes, but too often it’s not expressed to those who it effects the most – your family or heirs.
Generational planning is the most common way we see this happen. You’re already going through the process of estate planning and hashing out the nitty gritty of Powers of Attorney (POA), Health Care Directives(HCD), Wills and Trust Agreements, among other things. It’s best to discuss these things with those appointed before they are put in the powerful position to make decisions on your behalf.
When it comes to POAs and HCDs, it’s important for your appointees to understand your wishes completely while also agreeing to assume these roles. This allows for open communication and questions to be discussed ahead of time, making sure that everyone is comfortable with their responsibility.
Secondly, when it comes to trust agreements or wills, it’s important for those inheriting these assets to know how this money is to be spent. This is something that you’ve worked hard to earn, grow and preserve and needs to be used in the way it was intended. Not only will this make it that much more valuable to your heirs, but it can be used for generations to come, helping grandkids and great grandkids should that be your desire.
Another great example of this is college planning. Grandparents often want to give the gift of education, at least to some degree. When their grandchildren are born, many even go to the extent of creating a college savings account for their grandkids but don’t tell the parents about it. While this is an incredible surprise when the grandchild goes off to college, families might be spending years and thousands of dollars doubling up on savings for the exact same reason when some of those funds could have been redirected elsewhere and invested differently for other objectives. Having these conversations on the front ends allows families to plan for various financial goals and helps them work towards success together.
Generational planning can be an intimidating topic, but you don’t have to go at it alone. If these are conversations you don’t feel comfortable having with your family, ask your wealth advisor to be there to help bridge the gap. They can share as much, or as little, as you are comfortable with while also getting your wishes across. You don’t need to be on an island with these tough, but important, conversations. You’ve worked so hard to accumulate your wealth, now let’s work together to preserve it.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.