Where does traditional estate planning fall short?
- Fails to fully take into account personal dynamics and relationships.
- Fails to include family and heirs in planning and preparation.
- Lack of continuity in handoffs.
- Primary focus is on wealth instead of the people the money is affecting.
- Plan inflexibility due to lack of communication.
What We Do Differently:
- Encourage communication and transparency with the family throughout the process.
- Give the family tools to address conflict and create goal alignment.
- Create practices and structure that offer a renewed sense of purpose and connection.
- Focus less on money, and more on the legacy that a family member can leave.
- Prepare heirs through mentoring and practical experience.
The Need for Family Communication
Although families differ in terms of means and circumstances, they generally share some common aspirations and dreams. Parents want to see their children achieve success as productive members of society, carrying on family values and perhaps a family business to succeeding generations. Parents and children, as well as other relatives, desire family harmony and personal fulfillment.
Ideally, families wish to encourage the unique talents of their progeny, facilitating personal growth and helping develop the confidence needed for personal success. Unfortunately, estate planning, as it is commonly practiced, often fails to serve families as effectively as it might. Professionals don’t usually think of the entire family as the client, though the choices and decisions made will ultimately have a substantial impact on the lives of every member of the family.
Traditional industry service models are part of the problem. Most financial and legal advice is compartmentalized, fragmentary and incomplete. Families hire specialists for accounting, legal and financial expertise, but these professionals rarely work together as an effective team, taking an in-depth approach to serving the family and its unique circumstances, personalities and goals.
Ironically, estate planning is almost never done with the knowledge and participation of the very family it seeks to serve. Too often, the first time the family hears of the family estate plan, it is at the reading of the will or trust of a deceased parent. Predictably, conflict and discord often follow, with damaging and sometimes tragic results.
Of course, families also share in the responsibility of creating successful estate plans. However, most lack the technical knowledge, vision and communication skills to create a vibrant and lasting legacy. They may not be cognizant of the potential for individual and family benefits that can be achieved, or of the possibility of conflict and wealth dissipation, that is largely dependent on effective communication before and during the estate planning process. This is an outstanding opportunity for qualified professional advisors to provide real value. PWJohnson wants to provide you guidance on that journey.