Walter and Joyce were 80-somethings in the prime of life, but when Walter had a minor stroke, it made them realize it was time to get serious about passing the leadership baton to the next generation. They were a strong and loving family with deep Central Florida roots, but like a lot of modern families, their children and grandchildren were widely scattered. Three of their four children lived out of state; their youngest son lived nearby and had been helping Walter take care of the family enterprises.
Walter and Joyce called the Legacy Planning Associates to set up a meeting to share their concerns. They had worked together on some complex financial matters in the past, but this time they were ready to tackle even bigger issues. It was recommended that the couple sit down with both principals of Legacy Planning Associates, and they agreed.
At the Initial Meeting, they had some significant questions for Scott and Mary:
- How could they transition family governance smoothly and amicably to the second generation?
- How could they preserve the family fortune and control it so it didn’t fall into the hands of the IRS and other predators?
- How could they transfer the family’s non-financial wealth— including the faith, integrity, and work ethic that made them who they were as a family— to their children and grandchildren?
- And how could they make sure their wealth was a blessing to their grandchildren— especially the teenagers— and not a curse?
Fortunately, these kinds of questions are squarely at the heart of the Legacy Planning Process. The Legacy Planning Associates team went to work on Advanced Discovery, creating an accurate and comprehensive snapshot of the family’s total wealth, family dynamics, existing financial and legal planning, and financial and non-financial objectives.
With a thorough and complete picture in hand, the team met with Walter and Joyce in an Executive Council to share their findings, to point out dangers and opportunities, and to design and customize the next steps of the process. Walter and Joyce chose to invite their children to join the Executive Council and to help identify objectives for an upcoming Family Retreat.
Working from the Executive Council’s objectives, Scott and Mary orchestrated a one-of-a-kind Family Retreat experience designed to build trust and communication; articulate the family’s vision, mission and purpose; educate younger family members about important financial, legal, and philanthropic concepts; and have fun together. Each family member, regardless of age, was actively engaged and drawn into the adventure of mapping out a template for the family’s future. Everyone left feeling connected, appreciated, and rejuvenated. The planning team left with clear directions for putting in place a long-term master plan for both the financial and non-financial wealth.
The Implementation Stage came together quickly after that, since everyone was on the same page and moving in the same direction. The Family Vision & Values Statement was drafted, refined, and published with everyone’s help. Based on its principles, a state-of-the-art financial and legal plan was designed, polished, and implemented. A provisional master plan for family governance was put in place, subject to further refinement at the next Family Retreat. The family foundation became the central tool for teaching financial smarts and family values to the younger generations.
A few months later, Walter and Joyce met again in Executive Council with Scott and Mary to measure their results and celebrate their progress. While there was additional work ahead, they could see significant strides in several key areas.
They could sense a growing harmony among their children and grandchildren, and they were delighted that everyone in the family, including the teenagers, was excited to be involved in the process. They were pleased with Legacy Planning Associates’ ideas to save millions of dollars of taxes, and to meet their cash-flow objectives. They could see that their assets were prepared to pass to their heirs, and that their heirs would be prepared to receive them.
Walter and Joyce now face the future with confidence, knowing that their family will beat the odds. No “shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations” for them. They are well on their way to preserving and passing on their financial and non-financial wealth for many generations. Their legacy is assured.