Money is freedom. When you have money, you simply have more choices and more opportunities. Freedom to start the business of your dreams, spend more time with family, chase a passion, go on memorable vacations, go to college, be charitable… you get my point. When you pass money on to the next generation, you are giving them freedom and you are changing their lives.
The values you teach your family will determine what they decide to do with that freedom. If you teach them to be lazy, complacent and entitled, the money will probably do more harm than good. Instead, if you teach them to be ambitious, kind and hard working, they will take that freedom and do great things. Things they otherwise could not do.
The first step is to have a vision for your financial legacy based on your family members and your personal values. What does your family need? What are their major stresses? What are their dreams? Then you have to sit down with them and ask for their input. As they become part of the process, they will feel a sense of responsibility and ownership over the shared vision. They will probably sit down and have the same conversation with their children when the time comes. By having the initial conversation, you will have a tremendous impact on your family tree for generations to come!
Your family should meet with a financial advisor, attorney and tax advisor, preferably all in the same meeting. The attorney can draw up documents such as a will, trusts, power of attorney documents and help to minimize estate taxes for those with larger estates. The financial advisor can discuss how to manage the assets based on your family’s vision and discuss any investment or insurance products that may help — either to manage risk or provide life insurance to the right people. The tax advisor can help with any tax questions along the way.
Now you have done what so many fail to do! Your family is all on same page with a shared vision for their future and are working with a fantastic financial and legal team. Your vision will probably develop and change as your family grows over time. It is important to have a family conversation at least every couple of years or when there has been a big change in the family such as death, birth, marriage, big purchase or sale, health changes etc. You also need to keep your financial and legal team in the loop.
I would be happy to sit down with you and your family and be part of the planning process for your family’s wealth. Please contact me with any questions or to set up a meeting so you can start changing your family’s future today.