Amidst the end of year rush to make the most of the gift tax exemption before it expires, a recent Wall Street Journal article reminds us that the focus should not be on wealth alone. The article lists 10 nonfinancial areas to address. Here are six of my favorites:
1. What, if any, concerns do the senior generation have about passing its wealth on to following generations?
2. Has the family written a mission statement or otherwise formally defined its core values?
3. Has the senior generation shared its estate plan with the next generation?
4. Has adequate thought been given to choice of trustee, how much money beneficiaries should receive and when, and whether beneficiaries will ever have control over their inheritances?
5. If there is a family business, will future generations be permitted to participate, and on what terms?
6. How will family relationships be encouraged as the family grows over the generations?
The full article, which can be found here, stresses the importance of family values and relationships in estate planning. As discussed in a previous blog post, an inheritance is more than a transfer of money and property; it is all about leaving a legacy.
(Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)