Speech Therapy: Our guide to talking wealth with your family
Five steps to having conversations with your loved ones that’ll give your money meaning.
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There’s much more to thinking about the long-term future of your wealth than trusts, tax planning and wills. It should involve something else that you may not always associate with your money – talking about it.
It’s worth getting your family together to discuss what your wealth means to you all, what you want to achieve with it, and whether those you’ll leave it to are ready for it.
Family fortunes are famous for fading as they pass from generation to generation, making it really important to ensure you’re all on the same page regarding the future of your wealth.
take five for a family meeting
Here’s our five-step guide to help you gather your thoughts and have those conversations. Such discussions aren’t always easy, but many of the families we help with this find them extremely fulfilling.
1) Define your purpose and vision
Where, ultimately, do you want your wealth to take you and your family? What’s the endgame?
Each family will answer this differently based on their values, attitudes, experiences and traditions.
It’s worth thinking about the right time to pass on your wealth, how much goes to each of your family members and who – if anyone – helps you through the process.
2) Explore your values and concerns
Think about your family’s beliefs and attitudes towards wealth. What matters most to you in life and how can your money help you with it? Discuss with your family what worries you about your wealth too. Do you have any reservations about passing it on?
It’s particularly important to talk through your hopes and fears for your money with your partner. Parents aren’t always aligned in their thinking, but it’s important to present a coherent message your children.
3) Determine what’s fair and manage expectations
Dividing your wealth equally among your loved ones when you’re gone may sound like the simplest, fairest solution. But life is rarely simple, and that won’t always be the best solution. You may decide to distribute your money based on each family member’s needs instead.
Take a step back first though, and talk to your family about what fairness means to you in the first place. Most importantly, explain the reasons behind what you’re thinking of doing as clearly as you can. It may be a difficult discussion, but worth it in the long run.
4) Prepare the next generation
Are the people you’re leaving your money to ready for it? Wealth brings enormous opportunities and can make life great, but it also comes with challenges and new-found responsibilities.
Fortunately, your family has a money mentor they can rely on – you. And now’s the time to talk to them about what being wealthy really means. Tell them about the pros and cons, share your wisdom on how to handle it, and try to address their questions and concerns.
5) Develop and implement your plan
You’ve had some good discussions with those closest to you and decided together how you’d like your wealth to shape your future. Now the wealth planning can begin.
There are lots of different ways to pass on your wealth – wills, gifts, trusts, to name just three. Experts like those we have here at Coutts can walk you through your options, help you decide the best route for your family, then do the heavy lifting in terms of getting it all in place.
Crucially, the sooner you start on this the better. Doing so gives you the widest range of choices and time to get comfortable with it all.
WANT TO KNOW MORE?
Find out more about how we could help you on our dedicated web page. More detail on each of these steps and other helpful tips and insight can be found in the latest edition of our brochure Breaking the wealth taboo.
Available exclusively to Coutts clients, it’s a comprehensive guide to help you plan for the future and consider the many ways your wealth can work for you and your family.
If you’re a Coutts client and would like a copy, or would like to talk to us about how we could help you pass on your wealth, please contact your private banker.
Fees and charges apply. Criteria apply.