Many people find it hard to come to terms with their own mortality, which can make transitioning wealth from one generation to the next very difficult. But putting it off, and worse still, not dealing with it, can be one of the worst mistakes we can make.
Death is not a pleasant subject. But it's inevitable. Yet its timing is unknown, making an orderly transition of wealth a critical aspect of estate planning. Your heirs may not like talking about the subject, but our job is to make sure that no stone is left unturned in the estate-planning process. The end result is that our clients are grateful that we thoroughly deal with every aspect of transition planning. Helping clients transfer their wealth to the next generation is one of the most important jobs of estate planners.
Here are a few helpful facts and tips for managing transition planning:
Transitioning assets is a great way to reduce your taxable estate. But keep in mind that the amount you transition varies with inflation. That means the rules can conceivably change every year. So transitioning is a lengthy process, and always in flux.
A touchy subject
We realize that money is a touchy subject in many families. Many people find it hard to discuss money with their heirs. They're fearful about their children knowing how much money they have and they're concerned that it could change the dynamics of their relationships. In order to have a seamless transition of wealth, we make it a point to work with the entire family, by encouraging communication among family members. Involving loved ones in the transition process makes it easier for everyone. This shouldn't be considered a taboo subject — instead, it should be thought of as one that is not only vitally important but can also bring families together. It's often a vehicle for mending walls and differences.
Transitioning money requires flexibility. Like the weather, it's always changing. Unforeseen events, such as divorce, illness, marriage, birth and death, affect the transfer of wealth. When passing along wealth to family members, you need to think about what's best for your children. Considering timing and children's financial dependence, we strongly advise transferring money in ways that are best for all parties. Often a trust is an excellent tool for transferring money from one generation to the next, and we can help you set up the right kind of trust for your situation.
For example, if you fear that a child will misuse or squander his or her inheritance, restrictions can be put on the funds. We can help you manage these changes so that dissension among family members is avoided and a seamless transition takes place.
Be prepared for life's uncertainties
Considering life's uncertainties, a practical strategy is preparing for them. For example, how would you change your will if you were to have another grandchild or if one of your children got married? Would you add another family member to your will, or possibly allocate more funds to a certain family member?
All of these questions are important to answer so that you make the necessary adjustments to your transfer plans.