A Low-Pressure (And Fun) Way to Discuss Legacy and Estate Planning
January 11, 2011
The hardest part of legacy planning or estate planning isn’t necessarily choosing the right fiduciaries, or deciding how to distribute your wealth fairly among your loved ones… the hardest part of legacy planning or estate planning is often simply talking about it with family. In fact, having “The Discussion” can be such a daunting task that many families simply don’t do it, choosing instead to take their chances when the family patriarch or matriarch passes away and the succession plan is revealed.
But avoiding the subject isn’t going to do you or your family any favors. More family infighting takes place after a death than at any other time. After all, this is when loved ones are grieving and emotions are high, when the central family figure or peacemaker may no longer be with you, and seemingly unequal inheritance distributions can no longer be explained.
What if there was a way to have “The Discussion” before it was forced upon you? What if there was a way to make that legacy and estate planning discussion low-pressure and even fun? That is exactly what husband and wife psychologist team Carolyn Friend and James Weiner have done with their book and accompanying card game, The Legacy Conversation: the missing gem in wealth planning.
A review of the Conversation Starters card game in Forbes gives a more detailed description of the game, including 7 or so sample questions to get the juices flowing; obvious questions such as “What cherished possession might your family fight over?” to the not-so-obvious questions such as “Have you ever found wisdom in a song’s lyrics? Name that tune.” The point of the Conversation Starters is not merely to discuss the family legacy, but to get to know your family members better, enjoy each other, and perhaps even grow closer in the process.
If your family has been putting off the necessary discussion of succession and legacy planning, this might be just the game you need. Don’t be afraid to tackle the difficult subjects, you might find you enjoy them more than you expect. And when you’re ready, we’re here to help with the practical details and legal legwork.