I’m often asked if wills and trusts can be prepared online without the help of an attorney. Creating wills and trusts should not be considered a boiler plate process. The attorneys I work with add great value to financial planning because most invest time in understanding family dynamics before drafting a will. Once the plan is in place, attorneys can also help prepare beneficiaries to receive wealth. Online legal forms do not guide beneficiaries and future generations toward wise decision making and long-term goal setting. It takes trusted advisors to facilitate careful planning.
At a recent meeting with clients, their CPA and attorney, my goal was to document the clients’ Generational Wealth plan, and I thought about the clients’ complex family. My clients recognized that sometimes children and other beneficiaries know more than we give them credit for and should be part of the conversation. Fortunately in this instance, the children were involved in the planning process, and communication among the family members was clear, transparent, and collaborative.
When I interview new clients, I often find that their past encounters in signing their wills, trusts and other planning documents was the end of a long emotional process. As we work with clients in the planning process, we stress that it should be the beginning of a relationship. Documenting your plan is like preparing to go fly fishing. Before heading to the river, I spend a lot of time making sure I have the right equipment to be ready for all the variables including water flow and depth, temperature, wind, sun, and a host of other temperamental issues. When I arrive at the river, the fun starts and the work really begins: finding the fish, presenting my lures, and feeling the exhilaration of catch and release. Similarly after documenting the generational wealth plan, we begin working with the next generation and focus on helping them get ready to receive wealth in a way that will improve their lives. I’ve learned that this process requires flexibility, communication, excellent listening skills, and an awareness that no two people are the same.
When offering Generational Wealth Management services to clients, we focus on preparing each unique beneficiary to receive wealth because everyone needs guidance and skills to make sure the wealth fosters the development of lifetime goals. For your beneficiaries to catch their personal, professional, financial or other trophy fish, the work starts after you have signed your wills and trusts. Investing your time in that process and getting all of your advisors involved will help beneficiaries catch their unique dream fish and give them control over how they catch it, choosing the rivers and streams or oceans they fish in.
Tim Scannell, CPA, CFP TM provides Personal and Business Tax Planning, Estate Planning, Investment Management, and Generational Wealth management to his clients. “We deliver proactive, objective advice, plans and solutions enabling our clients to reach their unique family goals “.