Most parents want to make sure they have enough money saved up to enjoy their retirement. If there is anything left over, they would like to leave it to their children in a smooth, tax efficient manner. Most children are likely concerned with the health care issues their parents may face in their later years. Do their parents have an enduring power of attorney or a health-care directive in place? What happens if their parents need long term care? How much would that cost? Will their parents be able to pay for it or will the children have to use their own savings to help?

Quite often families don’t spend enough time talking about financial issues and estate planning. But communication between generations is extremely important.Proactive advisors are beginning to initiate family meetings, inviting adult siblings and their parents to engage in a coordinated discourse about intergenerational financial issues. Rather than procrastinating and forcing an executor to be the first to illuminate the parent’s estate wishes, families are increasingly open to the idea of sharing thoughts and ideas beforehand in an attempt to pass assets as efficiently as possible from one generation to the next.

Cover Image - Estate Planning Through Family MeetingsLynne Butler’s recent book “Estate Planning through Family Meetings (without breaking up the family)” can also help with the process. Here are a few of the topics that Lynne covers.

  • How do you start a constructive conversation on a potentially awkward subject?
  • Who should be involved?
  • What is the process going to be like?
  • How do you get things going without causing any family disharmony or upsetting anyone?
  • Can it possibly be done without tears or shouting?
  • What can you reasonably expect to achieve?
  • Is it really possible to take all of the emotion and talking and form it into a legal plan of action that will be in place when you need it?

Whether clients are motivated by tax issues, health issues, a family member with special needs or an inability to settle on an executor, this book will help in the process of simplifying and clarifying the various options for all parties.