Overlooking the Obvious? It's Time to Include the Next Generation in Your Planning Process
If you think you have run out of things to talk about with your adult kids, how about a worthwhile chat about incapacity and death? That’s certainly going to get their attention and a photo worthy reaction…usually a wide-eyed look that says “it’s time to head for the hills”!
We need, however, to ensure that our next of kin are fully prepared and understand what we want should we become incapacitated or die.
There are many things we can all do to help the next generation. Including your adult children in end of life conversations and the plans you are making for the future will surely benefit them. These “chats” can reduce, and perhaps even eliminate, the mountains of questions and issues that arise amongst family members if you are ever incapacitated and after your death.
Do you have a trusting relationship with your financial advisor and your estate attorney? Then it’s high time for those advisors to get to know your children for a variety of reasons, including, but not limited to, the avoidance of potential conflict when there is a life-changing event.
First, engaging your adult children in these important conversations and planning now about any potential future wealth transfer after your death will help the next generation by creating a trusting relationship between them and your trusted advisors.
Secondly, you have the opportunity while you are still alive and kicking to have those serious conversations about your wishes and your intentions so that your children are not “surprised” when the inevitable happens. Lack of knowledge and hidden surprises can stir up conflicts that might otherwise remain unearthed during an emotionally challenging time.
Thirdly, you have an opportunity to teach and educate each of your children about the responsibilities and jobs they will inherit when overseeing the closure and distribution of your estate – and all of the tasks that need to be addressed when wrapping up your financial and personal life.
The flow of assets, personal property, real estate, and privately held businesses will go to, for the most part, your children. Don’t you think it’s best to give them some training wheels and clear directions in handling all those tasks? Wouldn’t it be better to talk about the hurdles that they may someday be faced with? Including the next generation in family meetings and communications with your advisors will only serve to minimize upset during a time of tremendous stress and will ultimately benefit those you love and those who will be left behind to sort out your wishes.
If your children don’t know what you have, what you want, and where everything is located, you will be leaving them looking for many needles in many haystacks. And frankly, sometimes incapacity and death can bring out the worst in people.
You can change that outcome by introducing your children to your trusted advisors today and by including them in these very important and meaningful family planning discussions. A good financial advisor and good estate attorney will facilitate these significant conversations.
So don’t overlook the obvious - engage your kids in your decision making process today.