- Life is not static. Circumstances and relationships continue to grow, develop and change over time.
- Strong families are very good at adapting to change and clearly communicating their values and purpose in life.
- Don’t let money interfere with decision-making and family harmony. Make sure your estate plan is up to date, reflects your wishes and is clearly communicated with relatives.
Did you ever notice how adding just one new person to a group can dramatically change the group’s dynamics? We see it all the time in Hollywood romantic comedies and family films when conversations and relationships change the minute a high-impact new person comes on the scene.
The same thing happens in real life as we add new members to our families through births, marriages, adoptions, etc., and we lose people through events such as death and divorce. The interesting thing about this phenomenon is that it changes how we identify ourselves as a family and the purpose for which we stand.
Nobody wants to die without having left some positive impression on the world. There has been a tremendous amount written about one’s legacy and purpose, especially when you have wealth and you’re planning to pass it along to future generations. The last thing you want is to have wealth and money control a situation, but that can happen easily each time relationships change.
It’s really important, as we add (and lose) relationships in our lives, to keep our identities intact. A lot of this has to do with good communication about our estate plans, and making it clear to future generations how money will change hands and who will be in control. The overall purpose of how the family operates usually stays the same, but our identity and how we interact, coordinate and lead within our families changes. It’s very important to make sure our legal documents and related paperwork reflects all that is important to our families as relationships build and change over time. Life is not static.
We find that great families really keep on top of communication and relationships. Otherwise, unfortunate things happen, such as when a family member laments, “Well, he (or she) is a big spender,” or “he’s still got the first nickel he ever made.” As people join or leave families, there are all sorts of nuances to describe how that creates change in how things operate. We don’t want money controlling our decision-making or other aspects of family relationships. As much as we can, we try to keep harmony within the family. I can’t stress enough how important it is to make sure your extended family is all on the same page, moving in an agreed-upon direction. Strong families do an excellent job of managing this very tricky part of life—and that’s typically reflected in their estate planning documents. Things just flow really well for strong families as life’s transitions take place.
I hope you find this interesting. Enjoy. Gary
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