Monday, April 25, 2011

Sharing the Estate Plan with Family Members

Parents are often reluctant to share financial and estate planning information with the children as they become adults. Generally, many parents are concerned that if the next generation becomes to fixated on what they will inherit some day that this may prove detrimental to their own independence and self sufficiency. A recent study confirmed that wealthy parents were afraid to share to much information with their children.

While no two families are the same, when each generation can do their estate planning with knowledge of what is going to happen in the future, there are opportunities to do things that otherwise go unnoticed. For example, if a child knows that there is will be a substantial inheritance someday, that knowledge could free up the child to consider gifting and multi-generational planning to take advantage of things such as the utilization of generation skipping transfer taxes. Through the use of dynasty trusts one can transfer wealth down to future generations on a tax free basis that can bless many future generations of one's heirs.

With proper drafting a trust can reflect the goals and desires of parents to foster independence and business entrepreneurship without, at the same time, creating a sense of entitlement that could impair a beneficiary's future development. We have seen success stories where families plan together and achieve a much improved estate plan that benefits a far greater number of members that when each generation plans in secret.