You can have a meaningful impact on your clients’ estate planning by helping to transfer family values from one generation to the next. A recent survey conducted by Age Wave Consulting asked Americans aged 45 years and older, “What’s most important to pass on to the next generation?”
The survey results revealed that the number one answer was “values and life lessons” from 74% of the respondents. The answer “financial assets or real estate” came in last. Ranked in between were “instructions and wishes to be fulfilled” and “personal possessions of emotional value.” This form of legacy planning can help advisors enrich and enhance client relationships and make connections to the next generation of wealth so that advisors maintain assets when clients pass.
Traditionally legacy planning has focused on the legal documents and financial techniques needed to transfer tangible assets. But with people now placing just as much value, if not more, on their family relationships, advisors can add tremendous value by paying attention to the “softer” or emotional side that also encompasses passing on a family’s legacy.
Your clients likely have stories and experiences they can share about their family history, cherished memories, and hopes for the future. Family meetings are one way you can add value as an advisor and help facilitate this transfer of knowledge, in addition to outlining what their estate documents say and conveying their intentions.
Family meetings also can help to better explain clients’ rationale for why they made the wealth management decisions on giving financial assets/property to whoever they did, and answer questions about any concerns the children may have about their parent’s future living arrangements, health-related decisions, and expectations for responsibilities related to caregiving.