Communication Can Be The Key To Creating Harmony In Multi-Generational Estate Planning (Part 1)

Estate planning for most families typically involves more than simply naming beneficiaries. The goals of estate planning often include the transfer of assets in an orderly and tax-efficient manner as well as working to preserve wealth across generations.

The transition of wealth from one generation to the next is often most successful when there is a shared understanding of the use of the family wealth. Those family members who have created the wealth get to decide how their assets are to be distributed, but understanding and agreement from the rest of the family on how assets are to be used can help preserve wealth as it moves from one generation to another.

Reaching an agreement between family members when it comes to estate planning can be especially challenging as different people often bring different ideas and values to the table.

Potential sources of conflict in estate planning

Families today could include 4 or 5 generations – from the Greatest Generation to Gen Z – and individuals across these generations often have different outlooks on wealth. Perspectives that people differ on may include:

· Personal values. Members of a family may have belief systems and values that conflict with those of other family members, involving how they view things such as work, social and political systems, relationships, and more.

· Investing priorities. Some generations emphasize socially conscious investing more than others, potentially creating conflict regarding how and where assets should be invested.

· Shifting economic environments. Older family members who have lived through various economic scenarios may have very different perspectives than younger family members, especially those growing up with high inflation and a slowing economy.

· Communication. Not every generation or individual feels comfortable talking openly about money, particularly with sharing how much is involved or how it should be spent.

Next week’s blog will be about how to resolve these types of conflicts and find agreement between family members across different generations. For help with your estate plan, contact us at Wilson and Wilson Estate Planning and Elder Law, LLC at 708 482 7090 for our main office in LaGrange, Illinois or at 847 656 8958 for our Northbrook, Illinois office.