Who, Where, What, When it Comes to Estate Giving

Have you decided who will receive what from your estate and when they will receive it? This process can be typically difficult and comfortable. Many ask the questions: Do you decide based off of who wants what? Or who deserves what? Or which family member is prepared and able to handle? Continue reading for a few tips to help you prepare with confidence.

  • Consider the Preparedness of Your Potential Heirs
    • Is each one financially literate, educated, or a financial know-how. This will be important to the role as a steward of your wealth. Look at the relationship they have with you and other close family members. Have they expressed or showed interest in your financial legacy?
    • An heir readiness checklist will cover everything like you heirs’ competencies to the role and can help you shape a strategy to distributing your wealth. You believe your heirs are ready now, you have the option to share part of their inheritance with them while you’re still alive. This would help guide them and help educate them to be mature financial stewards.
    • If you don’t believe that an heir would use their inheritance appropriately, think about these options. You can leave them with nothing, you can set aside a smaller share than other family members, or build a well-structured trust that follows through with your wishes. Another tip is to create incentives that enhances the behavior you’d like to see. That last tip is for those who have a child who they are worried about blowing through their inheritance. The key to this process is communicating and planning to ensure family harmony.
  • Talk to Your Kids Individually
    • Again, communication is key, the goal is to make sure that your intentions and details are understood. This will help provide a clear idea of the assets that they will be presented so there is an accurate expectation and preparation. This is an emotional subject and time for most, planning will prevent negative issues from surfacing.
    • Many choose to write letters to their family members and loved ones to accompany their estate plans. This will give you an opportunity to share life lessons, your hopes and desires for your legacy.
  • Set Up a Family Meeting
    • Once there is a plan in place, the next step we suggest is holding a family meeting. This can be just one big meeting or a series of meetings. The goal here is to share details and prepare your heirs to accomplish your goals with your legacy.
    • This is difficult to ensure and to plan for but making these decisions is important. Your financial legacy depends on communication and planning. Your financial advisor can help provide additional resources to help guide the process.

Sources: Raymondjames.com; Nuveen Investments Wealth Management Services; forbes.com