A successful business owner was becoming forgetful, but he wouldn’t admit it. He was making uncharacteristic decisions and becoming paranoid. Family conversations were contentious, and conflicting approaches were emerging. His wife knew little about their financials or how he wanted the estate to impact the family. Ultimately the wife had to figure out how to “keep the peace” while unprepared for her children's reactions. They did not trust her decisions because of her self-proclaimed lack of competence. Ultimately, they landed in litigation, breaking the family relationships and their mother’s heart.
Consider these 2 steps to avoid discord: 1. Broach the subject by saying, “We are working on our estate plan and want to hear your perspective,” and bring in a third party to help manage the conversations. 2. Learn the skills to manage trust. Focus on building trust and put relationships first, then a peaceful outcome can emerge.