Why Is Communication Important in Estate Planning?

Estate planning involves much more than just passing property and assets from one generation to the next. It is also about passing values and a common purpose for a family's wealth. For example, it may be a family's value that each generation help pay for college tuition for the next. Because wealth isn't just about money and assets. It's about ensuring the opportunities for successive generations while communicating what that family values. Successful transition of wealth from generation to generation is best accomplished when family members have a shared understanding of the overall use of the family wealth. While the initial wealth creators have final say about how their assets are distributed, awareness and agreement on the part of the receiving family members regarding how the wealth is used can help preserve assets as they move to the next generation.

Forbes’ recent article entitled “Communication Can Be The Key To Creating Harmony In Multi-Generational Estate Planning” says that coming to an agreement can sometimes be difficult, especially if family members bring their own perspectives and values to the estate planning process. However, good communication can help head off potential multi-generational conflicts before they happen.

One of the most significant challenges in achieving multi-generational wealth preservation is that each individual and generation has a different outlook on wealth. Today’s families could include four or even five generations. This big gap in ages could mean differing perspectives on many topics, including:

  • Personal values. Family members may have different belief systems and values, including how they view work, social and political systems, relationships, and other topics.
  • Investing priorities. Some generations may give greater importance to socially conscious investing than others. This could create a conflict when it comes to how and where to invest.
  • Shifting economic environments. Older generations who have lived through various economic scenarios may have very different perspectives than younger generations, particularly those just coming of age in a time of high inflation and a slowing economy.
  • Communication. Not every generation or family member is comfortable talking openly about money, especially when it comes to sharing how much is involved and how to spend it.
  • View of the role of a financial advisor. Some family members may see a financial advisor as a trusted partner, and others may be more skeptical.

While these differences can create challenges in the estate planning process, you can resolve them and reach an agreement about how to best manage the family’s wealth. Begin with a plan designed for the long-term, spanning current and future generations that’s flexible to meet the family’s changing needs and shifting economic environments. Of course, estate planning tools like revocable living trusts can give structure to a family's values and ensure those values pass on to the next generation.

If you are in the Madison, Wisconsin area book a call with Rick Coad to discuss your plan for your family.

Reference: Forbes (April 18, 2022) “Communication Can Be The Key To Creating Harmony In Multi-Generational Estate Planning”

estate planning law firm
Integrity Marketing Solutions - Estate Planning Marketing
Powered by
magnifiercross linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram