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How Can I Conduct a Family Meeting about Family Wealth Planning?

McNair Dallas Law

estate planning more than a will

When there is a large inheritance at stake (or even when there isn’t), it is a great idea to get everyone on the same page. A family meeting can make that happen, and it can even be enjoyable.

No matter the amount of wealth a family has, financial education is crucial to prepare for the future, and to become a good steward of an inheritance, according to Kiplinger’s article entitled “It’s Never Too Late for a Family Meeting – Here’s How to Do Them Well” .

Family meetings are a great way of bringing members of a family together with a goal of facilitating communication and financial education. This allows for sharing family stories, communicating values, setting goals to help ensure transparency and helping members across generations understand their roles around stewardship and wealth.

Here are some ideas on how to have an effective family meeting:

Prepare. The host of the meeting should spend time with each participating family member to help them understand the reason for the meeting and learn more about their expectations. There should be a desire and commitment from the participants to invest time and effort to make family meetings a success.

Plan. Create a clear agenda that defines the purpose and goals of each meeting. Share this agenda with participants before the meeting. Select a neutral location that makes everyone comfortable and encourages participation.

Have time for learning. Include an educational component in the agenda, such as an introduction to investing, estate planning, budgeting and saving, or philanthropy, or other financial education topics.

Have a “parking lot.” Note any topics raised that might need to be addressed in a future meeting.

Use a facilitator. Perhaps have a trusted adviser facilitate the meeting. This can help with managing the agenda, offering a different perspective, calming emotions and making certain that everyone is heard and understood.

Follow up. Include some to-do’s and schedule the next meeting to set expectations about continuing to bring the family together.

Be sure to consult with your trusted certified financial professional and elder law estate planning attorney.  They can help you prepare information to share with your family about financial and legal topics.

Reference: Kiplinger (Sep. 1, 2021) “It’s Never Too Late for a Family Meeting – Here’s How to Do Them Well”

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