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Wealth and Relationships: When Do We Tell Our Family About The Wealth?

The question stems from the historical system of estate planning that says there is a certain age when kids are ready. The inevitable and dangerous intersection of wealth and heir readiness is not an age; it is a conversation. The question in most affluent families of “how much and when” is essentially about trust - trust as a measure of competence. Do they have the competence to manage the family fortune responsibly? This question is disguised as expressions of judgment and disapproval. Have a conversation with your heirs and invite them to co-design the standards of readiness, expectations, and qualifications to manage wealth successfully. As a family leader, make a list of all that you do to manage the family wealth and identify the roles that will have to be managed when you no longer can. Then co-design the performance standards and qualifications that demonstrate the level of competence required for everyone on the family team to feel confident in their roles and each other.


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