Focus on your family and your goals before discussing strategy.

You may be approaching the point where you’re starting to think about transferring wealth to your descendants. At this juncture, sound advice is extremely valuable, not just to help you reduce estate taxes or set up new investment opportunities, but to guide both generations through the emotional hurdles that often come with this transition.

Clients are often overwhelmed by the many issues associated with the transfer of wealth. Are you confident your heirs can manage wealth responsibly? Do you understand the mechanisms behind trusts? Are you ready to let go of some amount of control? Clearly, this isn’t something that can or should be done in one sitting. Rather, wealth transfer is best approached incrementally, with a building-block method that focuses on your objectives over a longer period.

Transferring wealth doesn’t have to mean added hassle or complexity in one’s life, nor should it entail more tax forms or multiple meetings with one’s CPA or attorney. Our job is to simplify the financial strategy behind wealth transfer as much as possible.

It starts with a concerted effort to understand one’s goals and family dynamics, perhaps even getting to know one’s descendants early in the process. That way, we have a holistic view of both generations’ needs and expectations. We can then advise you on different savings vehicles that offer varying levels of control to the beneficiary and reduce the risk of careless handling of assets. Many wealth-transfer recipients have an interest in supporting charitable causes, and we can help your family navigate that process as well.

Actively engaging with both you and your heirs helps lead to an optimal wealth-transfer solution and helps the younger generation adjust to the responsibilities of wealth. Talk to your B|O|S advisor about how to make this critical transition as smooth as possible for all concerned.

A previous version of “Smoothing the Wealth Transfer Process” appeared here in the Wall Street Journal on June 6, 2016.

Filed under: Estate Planning

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