“Withholding certain facts or telling little white lies about your lifestyle and habits (both good and bad), may prevent your doctor from seeing the big picture, which can put your future health at risk.”
Vanguard advised in a recent article, “The final keys to successful wealth transfer,” that you should communicate honestly with your health care provider for the sake of maintaining your health, and you have to speak honestly with your heirs to preserve your wealth.
It’s hard for many of us to easily disclose personal details about our finances. That’s because money can represent a variety of complex feelings and concepts, like security, control, comfort, selfishness and power. However, it’s imperative to have this important conversation.
You can start by relaying stories about your successes and losses (financial and otherwise). That way, your heirs can learn from your experiences. In addition, even if you detail specific conditions regarding when and how heirs can use their inheritance, you should look at the wealth transfer process with trust and an open mind. You should educate your heirs to make smart financial decisions after you’re gone, by showing them materials to prepare them for the future now.
Have the talk with your heirs when it’s right. If information about a future inheritance might distract them from making wise decisions about their future, you don’t have to disclose specific dollar amounts. Every family is unique, so there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to the question of when you should have “the talk.”
You should also use the counsel of an experienced estate planning attorney who doesn’t have a stake in your legacy and can facilitate the wealth transfer discussion. That will take some pressure off and ensure that all topics are discussed.
A final key to a successful wealth transfer is philanthropy. All family members should be able to participate in the giving process. Finding a charity that matches up well with your family’s values can help your heirs learn how to make decisions, motivate others and develop confidence. These are attributes that will help them be respected stewards of your wealth, when the time arrives.
In summary, to enjoy a successful wealth transfer: (i) identify what’s important to you and your family; (ii) communicate honestly; (iii) stay organized; (iv) get your heirs prepared; and (v) explore philanthropy.
Reference: Vanguard (September 26, 2017) “The final keys to successful wealth transfer”