Two smiling families. BECU Investment Services.

10 Questions To Help Families Prepare for a Wealth Transfer

BECU Investment Services

Check the background of investment professionals associated with this site on FINRA's BrokerCheck.

Wealth transfer is more than just a financial transaction; it's an opportunity to pass on values, wisdom and a legacy of what's important to your family. Navigating this process requires careful consideration, open communication and a shared desire to preserve family unity. Here are 10 essential questions that families may ask themselves as they start the journey of wealth transfer.

1. What Values Define Our Family?

Before diving into the specifics of transferring assets, it's important to identify and articulate the values that define your family. What principles and beliefs have shaped your family's identity? Is it a commitment to charity or public service? Inclusion of others? Promoting animal welfare or an environmentally friendly lifestyle? Understanding what values are most important to your family may help you provide a framework to align the wealth transfer process with what matters most.

2. How Could Our Wealth Be a Force for Good?

Consider the impact your wealth may have beyond your immediate family. Having conversations with family members about philanthropy, social responsibility and community engagement may help ensure that wealth becomes a force for positive change. What charitable causes align with your family's values? And how could your wealth contribute to a better world?

3. Are We Openly Communicating About Wealth?

Open communication is the cornerstone of a successful wealth transfer. Is your family comfortable discussing financial matters? If not, it may take some practice. By working on being open and honest, you may foster trust and understanding, which could pave the way for a smoother wealth transfer process.

4. What Are Our Individual and Collective Goals?

Individual values are just as important as family-defining ones. Ask your family members to share their individual goals and aspirations. By understanding each person's unique ambitions, you may help tailor the wealth transfer plan to accommodate others' dreams while ensuring the overall family goals are still honored.

5. How Might We Educate Future Generations?

With financial literacy declining, wealth education is a powerful tool for empowering future generations. How could you encourage financial literacy, responsibility, and a sense of stewardship in the next generation and in generations to come? Consider establishing programs or resources to educate family members about managing wealth wisely.

6. What Structures Might Preserve Our Legacy?

Discussing the legal and financial structures that could support your wealth transfer plan is essential. There are various vehicles that may help preserve and distribute assets according to your wishes, including trusts and family foundations. Seeking professional advice may be invaluable in creating a robust legacy plan.

7. How Do We Handle Differences and Conflicts?

No family is free from potential conflicts, especially when it comes to money. Being proactive about addressing these issues is crucial for preserving family harmony during the wealth transfer process. By establishing a conflict resolution plan and encouraging empathy, you may be better able to navigate challenging situations. Bringing in an outside perspective like a financial advisor can also help. They can help provide a personalized opinion and professional guidance to help create a comprehensive plan for each family member's goals, needs and strengths.

8. Are We Prioritizing Health and Well-Being?

Wealth transfer should never come at the expense of your family relationships or individual well-being. Discuss how the wealth transfer process may support the health and happiness of family members, rather than hinder it — and build in safeguards and stopgaps that may prevent conflict before it occurs. Examples of these safeguards may include:

  • Setting up clear communication channels: Open and honest communication among family members can help to avoid misunderstandings and conflicts. Discussing intentions, expectations, and values related to wealth transfer can ensure that everyone is on the same page.
  • Addressing potential conflicts proactively: Identifying potential sources of conflict, such as unequal distributions of wealth or disagreements over decision making can help prevent conflicts from escalating. Developing contingency plans and strategies to address conflicts as they arise can help keep the wealth transfer process on track and protect family relationships.
  • Updating plans and documents regularly:  Regularly reviewing and updating estate plans, wills, trusts, and other documents related to wealth transfer can help ensure that they remain current and reflective of changing family dynamics and circumstances. Keeping these plans up-to-date can mitigate potential conflicts that may arise from outdated or unclear instructions.
  • Seeking professional advice: Consulting with financial and legal advisors can help ensure that the wealth transfer process is structured in a way that meets the needs of all family members. Professionals can provide guidance on estate planning, tax implications, and other complex issues that may arise.

9. How Could We Embrace Change and Adaptability?

Staying flexible is key in any wealth transfer plan. Acknowledge that circumstances, goals and family dynamics may change over time. It's important to regularly revisit and update your plan to ensure it still aligns with your family's needs.

10. What Stories Do We Want To Tell?

Your family's legacy is more than just numbers on a balance sheet. Think about the stories, values and traditions you want to pass down through the generations. Reflect on the meaning you want your family's wealth transfer to have, and how it may inspire future generations.

Talk to a Financial Advisor

Financial advisors at BECU Investment Services can help provide guidance so you and your family can plan for a wealth transfer and feel prepared for the future. Our team will take the time to get to know you, understand your goals and wishes to help build a financial and retirement strategy that's appropriate for you. Set up a complimentary consultation or call 206-439-5720 today.

For more resources or to stay up to date on market updates follow BECU Investment Services on social media: LinkedIn; Facebook

Securities and advisory services are offered through LPL Financial (LPL), a registered investment advisor and broker-dealer (member FINRA/SIPC). Insurance products are offered through LPL or its licensed affiliates. BECU and BECU Investment Services are not registered as a broker-dealer or investment advisor. Registered representatives of LPL offer products and services using BECU Investment Services, and may also be employees of BECU. These products and services are being offered through LPL or its affiliates, which are separate entities from, and not affiliates of, BECU or BECU Investment Services. Securities and insurance offered through LPL or its affiliates are:

Not Insured by NCUA or Any Other Government Agency
Not Credit Union Guaranteed
Not Credit Union Deposits or Obligations
May Lose Value

Your Credit Union (“Financial Institution”) provides referrals to financial professionals of LPL Financial LLC (“LPL”) pursuant to an agreement that allows LPL to pay the Financial Institution for these referrals. This creates an incentive for the Financial Institution to make these referrals, resulting in a conflict of interest. The Financial Institution is not a current client of LPL for brokerage or advisory services.

Please read the LPL Financial Relationship Disclosure for more detailed information.

The LPL Financial registered representatives associated with this website may discuss and/or transact business only with residents of the states in which they are properly registered or licensed. No offers may be made or accepted from any resident of any other state.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

This information is not intended to be a substitute for individualized legal advice. Please consult your legal advisor regarding your specific situation.

All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, LPL Financial makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy.

LPL Tracking #516318-02