Kelly built her wealth as a serial entrepreneur alongside her recently deceased husband, Robert. They founded and sold business after business over the past fifty years. While Robert was alive, they never revealed their finances in detail to their four children and twelve adult grandchildren. Now that Kelly is a widow in her 70s, she realizes it’s well past time for a legacy planning discussion.
When Kelly comes to IFP, our advisors will explore the full scope of considerations for her and her loved ones. Legacy planning is about so much more than mere wealth transfer. It consists of conversations on family values, long-term-care needs, inheritance and philanthropy.
Everything begins with family values. What does Kelly want for her children and grandchildren after she has passed on? What would Robert have wanted? How does Kelly want to be remembered, and how does she want her heirs to function in the world? What do Kelly and Robert’s heirs expect of their own lives, and how do those heirs want to be remembered by future generations?
These questions influence what happens to the family’s wealth, whether it goes to business ventures or specific charities and which heirs receive which assets. Some families go so far as to draft mission statements, so everyone is literally on the same page.
How Kelly spends her latter years determines what remains of her wealth, and health costs can consume a significant amount of assets. Preparing for potential needs – such as medicines, hospitals, home attendants and nursing facilities for the elderly – is financially prudent, especially as more people are living longer than ever.
Although the couple drafted a will, Kelly and Robert had not updated it in years and Kelly does not recall exactly what it says. At IFP, we can review that document with the appropriate specialists to help ensure it aligns with Kelly’s current wishes as well as any related financial structures – like donor-advised funds, estate planning trusts, and life insurance products. And, of course, at every step, we constantly seek to minimize tax exposure.
This kind of comprehensive strategy can bring Kelly’s heirs into the conversation when deciding which assets will go to them, which assets will go to charity, and which charities will receive those assets. In some instances, an appropriate course of action is to establish family trusts that appoint a qualified third party to administer both the ongoing distribution of assets as well as how heirs interact with each other when handling wealth.
While IFP is not an official part of either Kelly’s or Robert’s family, we care about their family legacy as though all their family members are part of ours.