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The Roman philosopher Seneca is credited with saying, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” In other words, luck favors the prepared.

Many family leaders believe a strong estate plan will prepare their next generation and, in essence, do the talking for them. Yet the generational wealth that changes the world comes from prepared heirs, not from great estate plans. Confusing those two domains can cause mischief in family unity.

Give your kids the gift of preparedness this holiday season. Build a stronger family team by introducing new communication tools that take trust and communication to the next level. Practice listening this season. Shift your focus from having to come up with the solution to asking your next generation, “What would help you become a more prepared heir?”

Your legacy is built on relationships, and relationships are built on communication. The more skilled your family is at communicating with one another, the more likely it is that your estate plan will unfold the way you intend. The plan lays out the playbook. Preparation gives your family the skills to execute the plays.

Well-prepared heirs know how to manage and repair trust. They understand that conflict can actually lead to stronger bonds. They have the emotional fortitude to say “no” when it’s necessary. Prepared heirs make powerful requests in line with their own sense of purpose.

In many ways, 2021 has been the year of the two-step. While we took a step toward familiar routines, we found ourselves taking two steps back, pivoting once again to face an ongoing pandemic. All while we still had to “fly the plane” of school, work and life. The conversations about transitioning wealth don’t stop; rather, they become more evident.

We continued to guide our client families in taking on the challenge of how to talk about the family wealth. One family created more clarity regarding the roles of individual family members in planning for the future such as what it means to be an executor, or who will coordinate family vacations. The next generation took the conversation one step further and began to build a new business idea born from the rich history and care they had for their community.

Another family finally engaged in their long-awaited discussion about “How much, and when?” Starting that conversation enabled the next generation to find their place and for the family to determine the rightful place for their resources in their lives by discussing expectations regarding distributions openly. And another family with adult children in their mid-20s found the courage to “normalize” the fact that they are wealthy and to engage in meaningful conversations about how to be a healthy, wealthy family.

In these cases and all the others we’ve participated in, the result of these conversations is increased trust, ability to make decisions more quickly, and clarity about how family members can contribute to their own well-being and to the world around them.

May 2022 be the year you give your family the skills to maintain family unity and ensure your wealth is a force for good in their lives and the world. We invite you to set up a strategy call with us to help you get the conversations started.