At some point, your wealth will transfer to the next generation. Do you have a plan for how your assets will be distributed? Do you know who will receive your assets? Who will manage your estate or business? Who will manage your assets and your medical care in the event of disability or incapacitation?

There are several matters you may want to consider when thinking about legacy planning:

Security for family and friends

Strategies for providing adequate resources for family and friends in the event of your premature death.

Family bank (dynasty trust)

A trust maintained for the benefit of other family members, with loans made under very favorable terms. The principal is maintained and managed to benefit each succeeding generation of heirs. If properly structured, it can escape future estate and generation-skipping transfer taxes.

Planning for incapacity

A plan to manage day-to-day affairs or to make medical decisions when you are not mentally or physically able to make them.

Children of a previous marriage

A plan that takes into consideration providing for a surviving spouse while ensuring that the ultimate beneficiaries are children from a previous marriage.

Lifetime giving

Gifts that allow you to actively manage the process of transferring wealth to the next generation, as well as benefit from significant tax advantages.

Managing probate

Probate is a court-supervised process to finalize your estate after your death. There are basic estate planning documents you should have to simplify this process and reduce costs.

Equalizing inheritances

Most parents want to treat their children equally, but it may not be feasible or desirable to split an asset equally among all beneficiaries. There are several ways to organize your assets to ensure that your children will receive comparable inheritances.

Business succession

When and how to retire from the business. If you own a business, you will have to develop a succession plan and decide whether to sell the business or give it away during life or at death.

Family means different things to different people. We’d like to know what it means to you.

In addition to intergenerational planning, we like to meet with all the members of your family to help ensure that everybody is clear about the financial goals and understands the strategies we will use to pursue those goals. Some families find it difficult to discuss money with their children, but we can help you overcome this reluctance and improve communication, knowledge, and understanding. It is important for us to talk to your children and beneficiaries about their roles and responsibilities—to work through budgeting issues and to review the locations of important documents.

Wealth management is defined as the ability to protect, preserve, accumulate, and transfer wealth in a cost-effective, tax-efficient manner. We’d like to add three words to that definition: for your family. Financial planning doesn’t have to cross generational boundaries. We just think that you deserve it.

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Letter to widows/widowers

Whether the death was planned or unexpected does not make this process any easier. For most of our clients, it’s not about them dying…it’s about their family living. It has been said that the beginning of wisdom is calling things by their right names. DEATH—this is what it is. Your loved one didn’t pass, they died. We as a society do not like to talk about death so we create clever phrases to avoid calling it what it is—DEATH. We often don’t understand why things like this happen. We rarely ever know “why”, and honestly it wouldn’t make a difference if we did. The reality remains. It did happen. So what now? Death is not fair, it is not logical, and it is always too soon when it’s someone you love. People think they need to apologize for their tears. They always say “I’m sorry” when they start to cry. They think they are “strong” if they don’t cry. They’re wrong. You are so strong and so courageous when you are willing to face and work through those tough, painful emotions. It is not the strong people who don’t cry; it’s the strong ones who do. Besides, it’s a path to healing and we want to support you on that path. So this office is a safe and confidential place. Anything you’re going through is OK here. In this office, you can cry anytime…no apologies necessary. Healing doesn’t mean you “get over it,” you “put it behind you,” or you forget. You do have to let go of what can no longer be, but you carry the love, the life, the lessons, and the memories with you forever. You honor the person by living as fully as possible now, enriched by those memories. Expect that grief is more volatile than the stock market. It will be up, down, back, forward, and all over the place. You may feel like you’re taking three steps forward and two steps back. That’s normal. You are healing and you will heal, but it won’t be a smooth and predictable path. Trust your own instincts and do what you are ready to do, no matter what other people say. Everyone grieves in their own way and on their own timetable. No one is truly dead from this earth until there is not a person left alive who speaks their name or tells their story. Our purpose together is to help you achieve your goals, and your biggest goal right now is to get through this, to find a way to put the pieces back together and regain joy in life. We want to support that goal for you, so we will be here for the long haul, doing everything we can to make this difficult experience a little bit easier for you. You still have a future, it will just be a very different future than the one you had planned. Yet it can still hold great satisfaction, peace, and true joy. Regards, The Wealth Transition Collective

Commonwealth Financial Network® and The Wealth Transition Collective’ do not provide legal or tax advice. You should consult a legal or tax professional regarding your individual situation.