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Perspective –<br>Estate Process – Part #5

BRIAN J. EVANS, Special to The Standard

This may be the most important objective as you establish an estate process!

Preparing the next generation. You have spent a lifetime providing for your family and your retirement financial needs. To just dump your hard-earned assets, after you and your spouse no longer need them, without sufficient direction, does seem a little simple.

What if you could help to ensure your assets would continue in the values and principles which had guided you in life? It would be comforting to know your family and beneficiaries respected the financial responsibility you have entrusted to them. Preparing the next generation should start now or as early as 6 or 8 years old. It is an activity in which you should take leadership, as you develop your Estate process. Here are a couple of brief points to consider:

  1. Parents are the primary teachers of money and money management.

  2. The best legacy is to pass along the values before passing along the money!

  3. Family values, generosity, and money management skills are transferable.

  4. More is caught than taught!

  5. Children learn to manage money by managing money. It can have a generational impact!

  6. Recognize your family & beneficiaries are unique individuals, each requiring different treatment, yet you love them the same.

  7. How best can you help them flourish, mature, and grow in their life and with their family?

Family Involvement. In most cases, if you have family, they will be involved in the execution of your Will and estate. So many times, after a person passes away, there are questions and a significant level of surprise, as family and beneficiaries learn for the first time what estate objectives have been established and who has responsibilities. At that point, there is no opportunity to clarify any reasoning with the deceased.

In light of keeping the next generation prepared, it is good to plan and host a family meeting. Once your estate process is reviewed and set with counsel from your legal, tax and financial advisors, it is good to ensure all family members know of your general plans and who has responsibilities as your Executors and Power of Attorneys. During this family time, you can share your heart, for the settlement of your estate and any desired actions for your Power of Attorneys. You can remind your loved ones of the life skills and financial management you have taught by your example. Your family will gain a level of confidence if a portion of this meeting can be arranged with your legal or professional counsel present, to explain the general plans you have made and answer any questions. It is important if some family members cannot attend due to distance, they be able to attend via the conferencing or virtual platforms available today.

You can prevent a ‘scavenger hunt’ by showing your executors where all the details are kept and making sure required documents and contacts are in one place. These files should be reviewed regularly and at least every few years, to ensure there are no required changes or additions. Once your family has an initial understanding of your estate process, any future changes are easily communicated. Summary. This series of articles is not exhaustive by any means. Yet, their purpose is to provide strong encouragement for you to prioritize your estate and POA preparations and get things in order. Not only will it give you a significant sense of peace, but it will also save your loved ones a lot of additional grief, when help is needed most.

There is no better time than right now. Make the call to the professionals who can assist you with your estate process! They have the resources to help you get started.

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