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Family meetings in the context of estate planning

You might be familiar with Jim Cramer from his long-time television presence as an investment commentator or from the many books he has written on that subject.

Cramer also occasionally beams in on estate planning matters, generally emphasizing while doing so the often seamless link between financial planning and estate-linked considerations.

His recent article on the financial website TheStreet underscores that tie. It specifically discusses family financial meetings, spotlighting the degree to which such conclaves can get all family members on the same page regarding key money matters.

Or at least talking. Cramer duly notes that an estate plan’s ultimate effectiveness or failure can largely depend on how clued in affected parties are in advance concerning the details.

To wit: If parents timely relate to the kids why and how expressed family values influence their estate planning decisions, siblings might be largely on board with the results. Conversely, if a heads-up was not given concerning why son A gets a house, daughter B gets the family business and siblings C and D inherit nothing, well … watch out.

Cramer notes that family financial meetings can sometimes spawn stiff and uncomfortable conversations, but that clearing the air on such matters can also yield huge future dividends. Candid talks can help secure these important goals:

  • Communication of what parents want, and why
  • Frank airing of views among relatives and loved ones
  • Necessary inventory of key documents and assets
  • Spotlighting of concerns relevant to aging and elder care

Family interaction is dynamic and unique. Encouraging its flow via a family financial meeting can facilitate candor. It can also promote a future estate outcome that is transparent and that broadly promotes peace of mind for involved parties.

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