Estate Planning, Family and Wealth Planning

Why Involve your Financial Advisor, Attorney, and Accountant at Your Family Meeting?

Some people might have misgivings about having a third-party advisor present at an otherwise private family gathering, and it is certainly not a mandatory step. However, you might want to consider inviting your financial advisor, estate planning attorney, or accountant to the meeting for the following reasons:

  • The presence of your financial and legal team can add a sense of authority to the conversation, reinforcing that your choices have not been arrived at lightly.
  • With your permission, your team can review the structure of your estate plan with your family, highlight its benefits, and make the meeting easier for you to conduct.
  • In some cases, there might be questions from your family. Your team can, with your permission, answer questions, especially those of a technical nature.

Tailor the role of your financial advisor, attorney, and accountant in your family meeting to your specific needs.

Whoever you include can give a brief presentation of your estate plan as part of the proceedings, or simply be on hand to clarify points.

When appropriate, someone from your team can even act as a facilitator or moderator for the meeting itself.

Best of luck over the holidays! Enjoy them with your loved ones and make the best of your time together. Peace, Love and Wealth for the New Year!

Yahima Suarez, Esq.
Yahima Suarez, PA
Life Planning & Beyond
305-456-7158
ysuarez@YSLawyers.com

Yahima Suarez
Yahima Suarez, J.D. Estate Planning for your Family
Estate Planning, Family and Wealth Planning

What should you discuss at the family meeting?

Once you’ve committed to discussing your estate planning with your family, what should you share specifically? Should you detail the entire plan with them, or just an outline of it? Should you go into detail about who gets what?

The specifics of what should and should not be discussed about your estate will depend on your family, your circumstances, and your overall level of comfort with how much knowledge they possess.

You don’t necessarily have to violate your privacy, and there’s typically no need to reveal specific dollar amounts at this meeting.

One big caveat – if there’s anything in your plan that might stir controversy, concealing it now serves to invite conflict later. Thus, a good basic rule of thumb is to share as much as is necessary to get everyone on the same page.

Yahima Suarez, Esq.
Yahima Suarez, PA
Life Planning & Beyond
305-456-7158
ysuarez@YSLawyers.com

Yahima Suarez

Yahima Suarez, J.D. Estate Planning for your Family

Estate Planning, Family and Wealth Planning

Tips for a successful estate planning family meeting

When you hold your family meeting, a bit of awkwardness is to be expected at first—after all, no one in your family (presumably) is likely eager to discuss what will happen when you die or in the event of incapacity. Remind everyone that is not just about death, it is also about life planning.

Likewise, you need to be prepared to talk through some of the choices you’ve made that are likely to generate some pushback. The end of the meeting is often more comfortable than the beginning. The following guidance can help you get there.

  • Plan the meeting after the holiday, if possible. If you’re gathering the family at a holiday like Christmas, try to arrange the actual meeting to take place after the holiday itself, so a potentially uncomfortable conversation doesn’t spoil any planned festivities.
  • Invite your financial advisor, estate planning attorney, and accountant to be in attendance. (More to this point to come — stay tuned on next blog posts).
  • Schedule the meeting in a quiet place that encourages candid conversation. A public place is probably not appropriate for this discussion. Your financial advisor or estate planning attorney might have access to space if you need it and prefer a “neutral” site over your living room.
    •  Set an agenda. Encourage open conversation, especially on any controversial points, but have a clear list of points to be covered, so you don’t forget anything in the midst of emotional moments.
    • Set a start and stop time. This step will help the meeting stay on track without meandering away from the main points.
    • Strike an inclusive tone. While you should not suggest that your decisions are open to challenge or discussion (it is your estate plan after all), try to convey that you are inviting the family to share your vision and goals. If you can get them on board with you at the outset, the risk of disputes will be significantly reduced later.
    • Arrange for child care. This meeting should be an adults-only gathering so everyone can participate without distractions from babies and children.
    • Set an agenda. Encourage open conversation, especially on any controversial points, but have a clear list of points to be covered, so you don’t forget anything in the midst of emotional moments.
    • Set a start and stop time. This step will help the meeting stay on track without meandering away from the main points.
    • Strike an inclusive tone. While you should not suggest that your decisions are open to challenge or discussion (it is your estate plan after all), try to convey that you are inviting the family to share your vision and goals. If you can get them on board with you at the outset, the risk of disputes will be significantly reduced later.

If you would like to know more or need help or guidance, email us at ysuarez@YSLawyers.com or call us at 305-456-7158. 

Yahima Suarez, Esq.
Yahima Suarez, PA
Life Planning & Beyond

Yahima Suarez
Yahima Suarez, J.D. Estate Planning for your Family
Estate Planning, Family and Wealth Planning

Why You Shall Talk to Your Family over the Holidays about Your Estate Plan

We work hard and build up assets and we are strong in the fight for causes that matter to us. It is very fulfilling to know that we can share our wealth and our legacy with our family.

It is impossible to plan for every eventuality, but careful planning can make a big difference, especially when it comes to your intentions and vision of your wealth management.

Communicating your clear intentions about your estate management, during life or  beyond, can avoid costly and time consuming conflicts among your heirs or family members. One of the purposes of planning is to bring harmony and unity to our loved ones, not war.

Sharing your wealth management vision with your family can make them understand where you stand and why. If they understand where you want to go with your plan, they may share your same vision. If they do not understand, they may try to move in the opposite direction causing dissipation of your assets or mismanagement.

Remember, you want your family to follow your intentions and visions upon your death but you have put careful thought into which assets go to which beneficiaries and why. But, when the details of a plan are revealed, especially during a time of grief, differing opinions can create conflict. If your family unexpectedly discovers upon your death that there is a significant amount of money to be distributed, and you haven’t shared your rationale behind the decisions you’ve made, then you’ve set the stage for conflict and fighting – possibly even a costly and lengthy lawsuit.

To overcome these challenges, frame your estate planning around your guiding principles, communicate your intentions thoroughly in the trust, and explain your vision clearly to your trustees and beneficiaries while you’re still around to explain things. Remember that you do not have to give specific information about distribution, but you can share your intentions, your vision and your rationale behind your decisions.

When you attach your values to your estate plan and involve your family in the process, your estate plan now becomes a family plan, minimizing the risk of conflict.

Yahima Suarez, Esq.
Yahima Suarez, PA
Phone #: 305-456-7158
Email: ysuarez@yslawyers.com

Yahima Suarez, J.D. Estate Planning for your Family

Yahima Suarez, J.D.
Estate Planning for your Family