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.
Kiplinger's recent article entitled “It's Never Too Late for a Family Meeting – Here's How to Do Them Well” emphasizes that no matter the amount of wealth that a family has, wealth education is crucial to overall financial planning, preparing for the future and to becoming a good steward of an inheritance.
Family meetings are a great way of bringing members of a family together with a goal of facilitating communication and 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.
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.
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Reference: Kiplinger (Sep. 1, 2021) “It's Never Too Late for a Family Meeting – Here's How to Do Them Well”