Monday, December 7, 2015
Enmity between family members is an unfortunate reality for the estate planner and client alike and is usually the driving force behind court challenges to final settlements. However, the anger and frustration can sometimes be soothed by the use of family meetings during which everyone has a chance to understand why a particular course is being taken and be able to state their feelings on the matter. Even in situations where there is little chance of a court challenge, meetings can be used to prepare the next generation for their inheritance by passing along thoughts on the responsibilities and pitfalls that come along with wealth. While there is no particular form that a meeting should take, it is always wise to take into consideration the person (or people) that will be involved and tailor the situation to their likely reaction. This forethought is particularly important when someone is likely to be disappointed by the restriction on, or outright lack of, an inheritance. While meetings will not be needed in all situations, they are an effective way to potentially avoid problems by making everyone involved feel included in the process.
See Donna Trammell, Gainful Get-Togethers, Financial Advisor, November 9, 2015.
Special thanks to Joel Dobris (Professor of Law, UC Davis School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.