Inter-generational estate planning is important. This type of planning is about more than just helping one generation build as much wealth as possible. These plans help prepare heirs to both manage and preserve those assets into the future for long-lasting enjoyment. Below are six steps that can facilitate successful inter-generational estate planning.
1. Get the family together: While family dynamics can change, this should not prevent you from taking some time to map out an estate plan strategy for your family. Ideal goals across generations should be discussed in a group setting, on a preset date and location. Key concerns to be addressed during the meeting may include deciding what objectives to prioritize, such as having income available for retirement, covering educational expenses for younger generations, the ability to access capital quickly, and allocating resources to mitigate emergencies.
2. Consider the full scope of your assets: When trying to establish a legacy for generations to come, an important starting point is to consider the entirety of your assets. These might include personal items such as jewelry, art, or collectibles; insurance policy benefits; financial resources, including investment and bank accounts; and real property such as primary homes or rentals.
3. Address overarching family needs: During the meeting, it is important that all parties express their individual needs. Things to consider with respect to each member of the family include their basic estate planning goals, health and long-term care concerns, lifetime gifting strategies, and charitable giving plans. For those families with a closely-held business, transitioning the family business is a crucial discussion that must occur.
4. Explore different estate planning tools: There are several options for how to structure your wealth to meet long-term, multi-generational goals for the unique needs of your family. While a family trust can be quite useful in estate planning, a basic trust may not meet the needs of the entire family. Other options include using insurance products to provide income for particular beneficiaries, creating generation-skipping trusts, or using retirement account planning. When designing the right strategy for your family, it is important that you work with trusted advisors who can walk you through all of the financial and legal options available to you.
5. Recognize there may be individual circumstances or concerns that require special planning and a more conservative approach for a particular family member to benefit. For example, divorce, debt, financial inexperience or instability and disability.
6. Take stock and regularly follow up: After all the strategies have been discussed and family needs addressed concerning the generations, keep the plan moving forward. This may involve having regular family meetings with estate planning and financial professionals, redefining family members’ needs and roles as situations change, and addressing additional concerns as they arise.
Seek Professional Advice
It is important to understand that building inter-generational wealth is a continual process. Make sure to consult with us to understand the tools available to you and how you can plan for the financial security of several generations to come.