<iframe src="//www.googletagmanager.com/ns.html?id=GTM-WSMCRCP" height="0" width="0" style="display:none;visibility:hidden">

Lessons Learned: Now is the time to plan for future wealth transfer

Mar 06, 2024 | Steve Ross


Planning for the future can be a complex and, at times, uncomfortable process. But investing the time and effort now to create a solid plan and communicate it to your loved ones can pay dividends for years to come.

Throughout my 40 plus years in the wealth management field, I have observed many families undergo inevitable wealth transfer. However, many people fall into the trap of merely focusing on today’s issues, and they don’t invest sufficient time and effort to plan for tomorrow’s “what if” scenarios, particularly when it involves health-related circumstances or death. Individual family dynamics often dictate how we communicate (or do not communicate) with a spouse, partner, children, or grandchildren about these important topics.  My experience has been that many well-intentioned families hide from discussions about these uncomfortable lifecycle events. Such a strategy rarely works out successfully because families have to make quick decisions under a state of duress without a background of knowledge. 

How do we comfortably broach these discussions with family members? I experienced this dilemma first-hand some years ago within my own family and, while it was difficult then, I now have more knowledge about how to foster and improve the dialogue among family members. Sometimes, it takes an unexpected tragic event affecting a friend, neighbor, or colleague to lay the groundwork for family discussions. Other times, it just takes a little courage and strength to broach these naturally awkward topics with your own family by saying, “Help me help you.” 

In my case, I do not want to add more anxiety onto my family if, or when, something untoward happened to me. As such, I formulated my own version of a “demise file” that I discuss with my family at least once a year. There is no perfect playbook with this topic, but having show-and-tell discussions with the people whom you love and trust could be one of the best investments you ever make. I like to say, “If you could see the way the movie ends in your life, would you still make the same planning decisions today regarding your family?”  

Benjamin Franklin said, “Don’t put off tomorrow what you can do today."  We should all heed Mr. Franklin’s timeless wisdom!   I am open and available to furthering a discussion with any of you, your families, or friends if you feel my input can be useful. 


Values in action