If the thought of speaking with your family about passing on your wealth makes you uncomfortable, you are not alone. Many people never broach this topic or tell their beneficiaries that they have an estate plan.
Unfortunately, not sharing your estate planning information leaves children and other heirs ill-prepared to accept and manage a large inheritance. Reportedly, about 70% of families lose their wealth in the second generation of the family unit.
How can family meetings help?
If you feel uncomfortable addressing wealth transfer and estate planning with your loved ones, you can break the ice with a prescheduled family meeting. Advance scheduling gives you time to prepare your topics for discussion. It also gives your family time to formulate questions or concerns.
Tips for a successful wealth transfer or estate planning meeting include:
- Prepare discussion points. Decide what topics you wish to discuss and write them down. It may help to speak with an estate planning advocate before your meeting to drill down on critical discussion points.
- Make a topic list. Plan your meeting and distribute a topic list to your family members well before the meeting occurs. Your loved ones can use the list to understand your intentions and decide how they wish to respond.
- Talk about money. A meeting provides you with a chance to impart lessons you have learned about wealth and its preservation. It also allows you to discuss the hopes you have for your family members’ success in whatever endeavors they choose to pursue.
- Invite honest feedback. If your plans for your family do not match theirs, you might need to revisit your estate plan. Armed with the information gathered from the meeting, you can adjust your estate plan to ensure it meets everyone’s needs.
Increasing your knowledge of the laws that govern Maryland estate planning can also help.