Call a Family Meeting

call a family meetingDo you have your estate plan in order? Are your power-of-attorney documents, beneficiary forms and will up to date? That’s excellent. Now it’s time to call a family meeting, so you can share that information.

Many people find it difficult to talk with their children and families about finances, estate planning, and long-term care. So they avoid it. Yet, communication is a critical element to effective planning. It’s also a key factor in creating peace-of-mind for yourself and those you love.

Here are some helpful tips for when you call a family meeting:

  • Keep the discussion brief. Let your family know you’ve taken time to put your affairs in order, and you want them to be aware of your plans. Explain what documents have been drafted, why they are important to you and the family, and where they can be located.
  • Remember, estate planning is not just about death. It’s also about life, who we love, and what is important to us. This gathering is a great time to share with children and/or grandchildren some of the principles that guided you in your decisions (such as philanthropic plans or funds set aside for education).
  • Follow up with something fun. Even if you must keep your distance due to COVID-19 precautions, you can conclude with an activity everyone will enjoy. Host a family dinner outdoors or play a game online.  Games like Bingo, Five Things and Pictionary lend themselves well to Zoom or other virtual meeting platforms. Get more ideas with a web search for “games to play virtually.”

Did you know?

Our advisors will organize and facilitate family meetings for their clients, as part of our Core Client Services. That’s the value of Perspective.

By |2021-03-26T15:42:27-07:00March 29th, 2021|Estate Planning|

Video Library

Scroll through the Perspective Financial Services Video Library to watch original, brief videos on a wide range of personal financial planning and investing topics. (more…)

Estate Planning is Not Perfect

There are a number of reasons why you may want to consider creating or updating your estate plan this year (i.e. marriage, divorce, birth, COVID-19, retirement). And there are an equal numbers of reasons why you might be inclined to put it off. What holds most people back? The “popular” answer is we’re all afraid to face our own mortality. That hasn’t been my observation. The biggest challenge that holds many people back is failing to understand estate planning is not perfect.

Here is a breakdown of the common obstacles I see:

Becoming frozen in procrastination.

Getting started on what feels like a big, complicated task is the number one killer of success in any venture. “I don’t have time.” “I need to finish (fill in the blank) first.”  “I’ll have to give these questions some thought.”

Solution: Start with one simple task. Schedule a meeting with your advisor.

Choosing people and assigning priorities is tough.

This was huge for me when our kids were born and we had to name a guardian in our will. “I want the best for my kids. Nobody will do as good of a job raising them as I would.” We face the same challenge when selecting trustees or executors. “What if they don’t do things the way I would do them?”

Solution: Find comfort in knowing the guardians, trustees and executors you choose will do their best. That’s all you can expect of them, or of yourself.

Thinking decades down the line.

We often get stuck trying to predict future circumstances based on what we know today. “My kids aren’t ready to inherit money now. What if they’re still not ready in 15 or 20 years?” “What about my grandchildren? Will they be ready?”

Solution: Focus instead on the next five years.

Estate planning isn’t perfect. Perfect is the enemy of good. Remember, these documents are written on paper, not on stone. They don’t need to last 10, 20 or 30 years. Make the best decisions with the information you have today, and know that you’ll be updating your documents (making them better again, not perfect) in three to seven years. It takes the pressure right off the table.

For successful estate planning, your new plan just needs to be better than the current plan. Hire the right professionals, and let’s work to get it as good as we can.

By |2020-08-14T10:54:00-07:00August 17th, 2020|Estate Planning|

Reduce Anxiety with Estate Planning

 Reduce anxiety with estate planningThe COVID-19 pandemic has rattled many of us. News of people in the prime of life succumbing to the illness naturally leads us to contemplate our own mortality. We worry about the fate of our loved ones – both emotionally and financially – in the event of our death. Now more than ever, we’re being reminded that estate planning is for everyone, at any age. You may help reduce anxiety with estate planning.

Taking precautions like wearing a mask in public places, keeping a six-foot distance from people outside of our households, and washing hands before and after all outside interactions can help reduce your risk of illness. Being proactive in creating an estate plan can help reduce your family’s risk of financial devastation.

No one likes to think about death, and many people find estate planning stressful. Working with a professional planner can ease that stress and help the process go quickly and smoothly. Once complete, estate planning can reduce anxiety. It removes one large element of the unknown and provides peace of mind that family and loved ones won’t have to worry about financial loss.

Key Elements: Estate planning elements vary depending upon net worth, employment, marital status, and number of dependents. In general, the process includes:

  • Calculating assets and future expenses;
  • Creating a will and advance medical directives;
  • Assessing life insurance needs; and
  • Designating beneficiaries, guardians and trustees.

To learn more, watch this brief video featuring Perspective’s founder, Mike McCann, in which he shares a personal story about his father and estate planning pitfalls.

 

By |2020-07-16T13:11:54-07:00July 20th, 2020|Current Affairs, Estate Planning|

Thinking About Legacy

thinking about legacyOur energy and passions are often focused on personal achievement, financial success and building a life during our 20s, 30s and 40s. Though we also spend time giving back to our families and our community in different ways, something seems to happen when we reach our 50s and 60s. We begin thinking about legacy.

Author David Brooks calls this the second mountain in his latest book titled the same. He explains how early in our lives we spend our time climbing the first mountain, expending most of our time and energy striving for professional and financial success.

Sometimes, we fall down the mountain, into the valley.  In that space, we may experience isolation and sadness. Perhaps we lose a loved one, or feel a lack of purpose or connection to others. Once we discover what we believe to be missing, we begin to think about ascending that second mountain.

“Here we can discover greater fulfillment and joy very different from that First Mountain,” Brooks writes. “We begin contemplating the legacy we want to leave our loved ones and our community, by making the world a better place in a small or big way.”

If you find yourself in that place and want to begin climbing that second mountain, make time for some self-reflection.

Here are questions to ask yourself when thinking about legacy:

  • Who are the people most important to me? How am I showing up in their lives?  Am I supporting them and sharing what I’ve learned to improve their lives?
  • What stirs my passions? What experiences, both personally and professionally, have motivated me to help, support and connect with others? What talents can I share?
  • How do I want to be remembered? How can I align my time and resources to what reflect who I am and what matters most to me? How do I want to be remembered? How can I align my time and resources to what reflect who I am and what matters most to me?

There’s no better way to enable our legacy to live on, than to spend time and resources on the people and causes closest to our hearts.

By |2020-02-13T13:01:57-07:00February 24th, 2020|Books, Estate Planning|