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Family discussions about money aid estate planning

Parents in Wisconsin might hesitate to discuss financial matters with their children. Estate planners, however, warn that this communication failure might undermine parents' desire to build a legacy and transfer wealth. Heirs might be poorly prepared to manage new assets. Ideally, benefactors should inform their heirs about their plans as early as possible. They could explain their reasoning and goals for preserving wealth for the next generation.

The communication process might start casually at family gatherings if questions about the estate arise. Older family members could impart their family values and goals for the family's money. At some point, a person working on an estate plan could schedule a formal meeting to discuss financial matters. Heirs could get a chance to play a role in decision making about charitable gifts or dividing assets to fund schooling, businesses or homes.

Heirs may next get an opportunity to meet with the family's financial adviser. A chance to engage with the adviser privately will allow them to ask questions they might not want to voice in front of parents. A financial adviser could learn about issues important to the purposes of the estate plan during these private meetings and suggest adjustments that might improve the outcome.

A person planning a wealth transfer and getting affairs in order for the end of life often consults an attorney as well. Legal insights may allow the person to develop trusts that promote financial goals for heirs. Information about taxes, heirs' vulnerability to creditors or methods for caring for a special needs child might also be gained through consultations with an attorney. Powers of attorney also play a role in estate planning; an attorney may be able to write this document and provide advice about how to store and share vital paperwork such as a healthcare directive.

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