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Wealth and Relationships: Whose Money Is This?

Hannah arrived at the long-awaited family meeting to talk about the family wealth feeling anxious. She knew they were wealthy, having googled her parent's salary, the cost of their homes, and the types of vacations they took.

Once the presentation was over Hannah found herself wondering ”Whose money is this?” The complex terminology suggested it belonged to her “There is an irrevocable trust in your name” however when she asked questions about how and when she could access the money, the answers were vague. Hannah left feeling frustrated and angry. She thought to herself “They really don’t trust me to be responsible, even though I have a steady job, pay my bills, and I’m 30 years old”. Intended to be a meeting to reveal their great fortune ended in deepening distrust and hurt feelings.

Rather than focus on the money or the assets, we suggest setting a larger context for the conversation. Consider inviting the next generation into the conversation by asking them what they see as the purpose and use for the family resources. How do they see they can be a contribution to the family wealth to make a difference in their communities? Unveiling the family estate plan should be a rich conversation filled with great pride, the anticipation of exciting new possibilities, and tremendous gratitude. That doesn’t happen without some guidance, however.

Give us a call to help you get these conversations off to a good start.

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