A Small Challenge

by Matthew Wesley on December 29, 2010

When you have just a minute, we encourage you to pull out a few transition planning documents for your major clients and review them. As you scan these documents, ask yourself if the structures your clients have created will do anything to 1 ) intentionally teach their heirs about themselves and the world, 2) build their heirs’ connections with others, 3) allow them to experience real world consequences of decisions they make, 4) help them develop personal responsibility, or 5) contain mechanisms for  accountability to the family as a whole. If your clients’ heirs are simply passive recipients of wealth, you might want to invite them to revisit their transition planning documents and include at least one or two simple structures that are designed to increase human, social, or historic capital.

The number of strategies that can be implemented to accomplish these objectives is limited only by the imagination of the client families. Of course, to be successful, these plans must be elegantly designed, financially solid, and legally sound. When that is achieved, these sorts of dynamic transition plans do much more than merely pass on wealth.  They use the family’s financial resources to invest in the long-term well-being of the family. When done well, this type of transition planning creates a profound sense of accomplishment and answers some of the deepest concerns our clients are raising with us. It is not easy work, but it is rewarding and it leaves a lasting legacy.

Questions

  1. What do you discover when you look at your clients estate documents?
  2. Do you know what you would say to your clients to help them re-imagine their transition plans?  (If not, please feel free to contact me. I’m always happy to chat with fellow advisers about these kinds of problems.)

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