Are Your Heirs Prepared?

Hello and welcome to Wisdom and Wealth! You can check out our Wisdom and Wealth Youtube Channel and Podcast as well. Also please be sure to check out our weekend Intangible Balance Sheet Podcast episodes where my guests and I explore what Intangible Wealth they want to pass on to the next generation!

In the past few episodes, we’ve walked through several of the different questions that I walked through in the planning process with clients and prospective clients. I use these as an opportunity to gain a better sense of what a particular person or family might want their money to accomplish for them. Everyone has a vision. But not everyone feels emboldened to proclaim that vision. Simply put my reason for being and purpose in this this life is to help others fulfill their calling by helping them harness their financial wealth to their life’s purpose. For some folks this can be a scary or intimidating task. Others may think it’s a foregone conclusion, but they haven’t communicated this vision or collaborated with anyone else in their family.

Today I’d like to focus on another critical question that nearly everyone has to answer at some point in life. Are your heirs prepared? I leave the question ambiguous for good reason. Yes, are they prepared to inherit your financial wealth, but are they prepared in life? Are they thriving so that your wealth will be an accelerant for good? This then leads to nearly everyone backing up a for a minute, and pondering whether or not they have passed on their first principles to their kids and grandkids. This can obviously lead to a cul-de-sac of regret if you aren’t careful, so I try to steer the conversation towards focusing on how a person or couple can pass on their first principles to the coming generation or generations. Are there life principles, and life experiences that you want to make sure you pass on to the next generation, irrespective of a dollar amount, that are worth far more than money? Are there stories that bring those principles to life that you can capture and which can capture the imagination of your kids, grandkids and community. I truly believe everyone has a story or two in them and frankly this is the genesis of what our weekend edition of the podcast called The Intangible Balance Sheet comes from.

Bringing up whether or not your heirs are prepared can be an uncomfortable process, but it is worth it. If you are not planning ahead for and equipping your heirs, who is?  I mentioned earlier that wealth can be an accelerant for good, but what I didn’t mention is that it can also be an accelerant for ill as well. It can assist, it can breathe life into a situation. It can also be an anchor. It can drag people down depending on how they view it, their situation in life, and where they’re at.

So I want clients to ponder what they envision their wealth, financial wealth, doing for its end recipient. I do my best to ensure that prior planning is taking place early on whether it is to avoid unprepared heirs or if it is something more like planning to minimize estate taxes. I’ve told the joke a time or two that if a client or prospect has three kids, they might actually have four if their estate planning isn’t done properly and the initials of the fourth child are IRS. Of course I say that in jest, of course, but the fact of the matter is that what I uncover in the marketplace is a lot of people that haven’t had the long-term planning and projection work and are aghast at the idea they one day will pay estate taxes. If they had simply asked the question “are my heirs prepared?” Perhaps it would have caused the projection work necessary that would have helped them avoid an unnecessary situation.  Sadly a lot of people partner with firms that fail them from a planning perspective and they don’t realize what their financial net worth can grow to over a period of 25, 30, or maybe even 40 years.

If you are scratching your head…and haven’t been reminded that the current estate tax exemption changes again after December 31st, 2025, now may be a good time to start planning. Part of the planning process that I walk people through incorporates this and shows clients how they can best retain as much control as possible and also how to shield those assets from needless estate taxes. But this is just in the realm of tactics. The true value comes from knowing that the end recipient of your financial wealth is prepared! Whether it is your kids or charities that are important to you, it is important to make your intent and vision known.

The next question that I try to get clients to ponder is, are there experiences or opportunities that you could invest in today in the lives of your heirs? When I ask this, I’m asking irrespective of whether it is your children, your grandchildren, or a charity that you are passionate about. Maybe a charity that you are involved with needs to revamp a building or buy a building or hire a new employee. What if you could actually be a part of helping that organization take the next step in their growth?

What if you could be a part of helping your child or grandchild purchase a small lifestyle business and be a part of their professional growth process? I find that there’s often a lot of planning that goes into educational planning, but far less goes into the types of opportunities that are out there for someone who wants to invest in the professional development of their heirs. What if you could make an investment in a small business that someone you care about manages? What if there were tax benefits to doing so? What if your portfolio could be used to breathe life into the dreams of future generations today? If you are reading this and want more information…we need to talk! Far too many people just assume their financial wealth can be nothing more than a revenue source. What if it could be more? The planning process is where you get to actually dream, develop, and work through what those options could be and model how they would affect you or not affect you. I never want clients to walk away from an engagement wondering if they can afford something. I want them to know, exactly what is required for them to marshal resources to accomplish what they believe they need to do.  Helping people dream of the future is the stuff that I cannot get enough of.  The process starts by simply by just asking a few questions. And once that process gets rolling, it’s incredible.

Personally, one goal I have is to, Lord Willing, one day help a great grandkid buy a business. Yes I know I’d have to live to 95, but seriously I’m envisioning becoming one of the coolest old chaps you’ve ever met, chomping on a cigar and who has completely lost his verbal filter! That’ll be the day! Yes, this goal could help to keep me active etc. But it can give me one last generational classroom to teach from. Business and life can be such a great tool. I can’t wait to use them for my family’s benefit.

I think I’ll leave things there for now. Hopefully, this has given you permission to dream on your own. Please evaluate your current situation and what it could be and what you want it to look like going forward. In closing as always, please know that we are wishing you and your family continued truth, beauty, and goodness on the road ahead.


This Newsletter is for general information purposes only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. To determine what may be appropriate for you, consult with your attorney, accountant, financial or tax advisor. Investing involves risk, including possible loss of principle. No strategy assures success or protects against loss. A diversified portfolio does not ensure a profit or protect against loss in a declining market. Unless otherwise noted, guests of the Wisdom and Wealth Podcast are not affiliated with CWM LLC.

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