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Family Legacy Planning: 6 Tips for Holding a Family Meeting About Money

October 12, 2019
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As a parent, your family bond is important but at times challenging.  As you can imagine, having a family meeting to talk specifically about money is no easy feat. At the same time, discussing finances to your family may be one of the most important meetings you could have, especially as you enter your retirement years and address your estate planning.

The goal for your family meeting is simple: to ensure everyone is on the same page when it comes to family financial matters. By having the difficult discussions up front, you are paving the way for a foundation of lasting stability, love, and understanding. The end product is a family focused on loving and supporting each other.  Here are our 6 tips to holding an effective family meeting about money.

  1. Have a solid plan. Before gathering everyone, you should have the basics down pat. Here are a few questions you should be able to answer:
  • Where and when are you meeting?
  • Which assets do you need to discuss over the course of the meeting, and in what order?
  • How will you mediate the discussion?
  • Do you have in hand and organized all necessary documents you may wish to reference for clarification?

Having a solid plan is the first step for ensuring a smooth family meeting.

  1. Don't control participation to a fault. As a parent, you should ensure that everyone’s thoughts and feelings are out and open on the table to prevent any harbored negative sentiments. You know your family best, so look for signs of “holding back” throughout the discussion, and don’t stifle or cut-off what someone may want to say.
  2. Get creative with your agenda. Unfortunately, numbers and finance may not be the most exciting topic to cover, especially with a plethora of ground to cover. Consider structuring the meeting with breaks, and make sure to mix up different aspects of the conversation. Here is an example of an agenda that you can present with specific time allotments to that you cover all topics: 
  • The family house
  • Retirement plans
  • Break for discussion
  • Valuables 
  • Investments
  • Break for discussion
  • The family business
  • Philanthropic Participation and Giving
  • Additional topics

  1. Have the difficult conversations.  In any family discussion, there is always the elephant in the room. Avoiding the elephant will not make the problem go away but will instead compound and procrastinate what could have been resolvable.  Think about this family meeting as an opportunity to put your heads together and brainstorm possible solutions. Perhaps there is a family member requiring special needs, financial aid, or some other complication.  Do not avoid the topic. Plan out possible solutions beforehand and present them to the group in a logical manner. 
  2. Consult a financial planner when necessary.  If you feel you might have a difficult time bringing forth the discussion about money and finance, consider bringing in a third entity.  A Certified Financial Fiduciary, such as Al Procaccino II at Castle Financial, would be a wise choice or Dr. Martin Phillipps who also advises Castle Financial clients on family firm matters.  Fiduciaries take an oath and are legally obligated to put their clients’ best interests first. For more complicated family situations, having a second opinion from a trusted source is a valuable option to consider. 
  3. It is never too late to try resolving family issues. Even if your family is in a state of non-communication, remember that it is never t     too late to try turning things around.  Despite the situation, conversations regarding money are important. One option is to bring the family together for a conflict resolution meeting before having a discussion regarding finances.

Holding a Family Legacy Planning Meeting may yield a large return on investment for you and your family.  Estate Planning can be a complex and delicate process requiring professional guidance.  This article represents a general overview. You may wish to consider Family Legacy Planning as an expansion of Estate Planning.  Castle Financial proudly offers Certified Financial Fiduciaries along with other experts in Estate Planning and Family Legacy Planning.  Please call us at 732-888-4994 with your questions and visit our website at www.castlefinancial.com.

We at Castle Financial understand that ultimately you decide what gives you happiness, joy and peace of mind.  Our commitment is working with you to achieve both your personal and family goals.