In the last blog, we talked about Leonardo da Vinci’s personal motto of Sapere Vedere – believing is seeing. We think that for estate planning, believing then seeing is key for a successful transition. It creates an opportunity to make your children, grandchildren and others aware in advance of what you want.
From your heir’s standpoint, they, of course, have a lot of questions about how this whole estate thing works: How do things transfer? What are these trusts? How does a will work? What are the taxes, the ramifications? There is a lot of those kinds of things.
But what they really want to know is the why – Why is this laid out this way? Money is just a thing, an object. It’s not really anything more than that. You want to attach significance to it; to explain the success and significance related to that money. That’s what families really want to learn more about.
Through our experiences, we’ve found that every family has its quirks – something unexpected, maybe even a little goofy. Every family also has some unique strengths. Each one handles these circumstances in its own.
Each heir’s situation is different also.
They could be single or married couples without children. There are extended family members, nieces and nephews and so forth. The only constant we see is that each situation is different, so for you to advance plan your transition you need to start with an awareness. Let me give you an example.
A client of ours, a couple that has been with us for 20 years, had a couple of children. They struggled and struggled for the past 20 years to address their estate with their children. One day sitting in our offices, they finally acknowledged out loud “We really have to do this. It’s terribly important before we die that our children clearly understand what we are about and what our money is about.”
Within a couple of weeks they took the critical step and sat down with their children. They went through all of it.
It was interesting to watch. The children did ask those questions about how this all works. They were finally able to see the money and could now begin to understand what their mom and dad had in their minds. And their hearts.
One of the children said, “When it happens, it happens. But now I have a better understanding of what you want us to do with the money. What you think about how it will affect us.” They were able to hear first hand for the first time what their parents concerns and hopes were.
Everybody has different questions and different issues around it. Thinking about them in advance and communicating that can make a world of difference. And create peace of mind for everybody.
That first stage of transition goes beyond just putting documents together. There has to be this awareness. An awareness of what everything connected to the money is and means.
Another couple I worked with about 15 years ago used a second stage to take it to the next level. They decided to not only make their children aware; they had them start dealing with some of the money.
They put some of the assets into smaller accounts, so their children could start early to experience thoughtful investing. Over the past decade or so, these children experienced their own awareness and began to understand how to look at all aspects: cash flow, taxes, balance sheet, investment management, and investment allocations. All sorts of things that the parents have been dealing with for a number of years.
It was a smart and timely decision.
The mother passed away unexpectedly; soon after her husband had some major mental health issues and couldn’t effectively manage the estate. Fortunately for this family, the children were able to smoothly step in, handle the transition with little effort and ultimately pick up right where their parents left off.
That’s taking it to the next level.
Very much like Leonardo da Vinci practiced; these families believed in a future vision and saw that more had to be done than simply executing estate documents. Both reached for awareness and, in the second case, early education and involvement with the estate.
These steps can take many different forms; there’s all different ways people do it. It’s personal enough to you to make sure it’s done your way. It begins with awareness.
At Coyle Financial we offer a second opinion service. We can help you clarify and put some form around the ideas that you want to communicate to your heirs.
If you’re ready to raise your awareness or if you already have and know someone who could benefit from a second opinion, call us to set a time to come and meet with us (800-480-7913). We would love to help you gain a clearer perspective and reach that next stage.
Send me your response, query or comment to email@example.com.