Which Is More Important: Family Values & History or Financial Assets?

When talking about families and inheritance, studies show that while financial assets are important, family values and family history take the driver’s seat. Most people treasure family stories and life lessons regardless of their age, financial situation, or race. A simple case would be comparing the reactions of siblings on two topics: a family legend or a new car. Chances are, the stories of the new car will stop after one month while the family stories will continue to be told and enjoyed for decades. This is because family stories, family values, and life lessons learned by members of the family are integral to its legacy.

safeDepositBoxA very recent study though shows that millennials think of inheritance as a “bonus” but expect to get that bonus – and are expecting large sums of up to $100,000. However, they are willing to lower that figure because many parents are already helping their adult children financially with student loans and other expenses.

An article published on www.Marketwatch.com reported that one in three Americans will “blow their inheritance” because they are not prepared to handle it. In fact, those who inherit money tend to spend it quickly and one-third end up with negative savings two years later.

Parents have a responsibility to teach their children money management so any windfall they get will be spent wisely. Inheritance, while a “bonus,” should not be just “fun money.” In today’s economy, a $1,000,000 inheritance does not even guarantee a comfortable retirement for a couple beyond their fifties.

Parents should sit down with their children and talk about the bigger financial picture and overall financial health. By doing this, it becomes part of your legacy to the family because it can prevent debt and financial stress. In addition, you teach them how to have priorities and how to make sacrifices for the greater good.

Thus, all of the above constitutes estate planning even though it is done in a casual setting. Once parents are ready to sit down with an estate planner, there is no lurking hidden agenda. Everything is out in the open. Estate planners should advise parents on how to involve the adult children so they act responsibly when the time comes. For instance, there should be minimal delay in transferring the property into the names of the heirs for tax purposes.

Thus, all of the above constitutes estate planning even though it is done in a casual setting. Once parents are ready to sit down with an estate planner, there is no lurking hidden agenda. Everything is out in the open. Estate planners should advise parents on how to involve the adult children so they act responsibly when the time comes. For instance, there should be minimal delay in transferring the property into the names of the heirs for tax purposes.

It is also beneficial to start estate planning in the event of sickness or accident to avoid conflicts within the family. Parents and elders must make it a point to get professional help in estate planning rather than rely on the information on the Internet or friendly advice.

Because family values and history are more important than money, estate planning is needed to keep the peace among family members. There is no standard in estate planning and it should not be rushed, but it should be done properly. This is because every estate plan is unique, just like the family designing it.

The estate lawyers of Krause Donovan Estate Law Partners, LLC practice law in the areas of Probate, Wills, Estate Planning, and Trusts. We assist clients in and around Madison, Wisconsin with all matters related to estate planning, trusts, and probate matters. Our dedicated attorneys will even make house calls if you are unable to come to our office.

Contact our office by calling (608) 268-5751 to schedule a free consultation or use our online contact form.