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Why is Purposeful Planning Important?
Purposeful planning has grown over the last ten to twenty years. For me, our need for purposeful planning begins with a multi-decade survey that has found that of thousands of trust beneficiaries, about 80% of them feel that their inheritance has been a burden in their lives, 10% are undecided, and only around 10% feel their inheritance has been a blessing.
What does it mean to be a burden? Inheritances can be a mental, emotional, physical, financial, or relational burden. Siblings may fight and not talk anymore, a child may relapse into addiction, waste their money, quit their job, or even not touch their inheritance because they do not want to feel that they are benefitting from Mom and Dad dying. The difficult part about burdens is that it can be so hard to identify which one, if any, will happen in the future.
Estate Planning and Burdens
We know that estate planning documents are not the problem. How do we know? Because there are still estate planning attorneys; we have not been sued for malpractice out of a job. However, we also know the documents are not the solution because of the 80% burden rate.
What does this mean? It means that while the money may successfully go from one generation to the next, there is an 80% chance that your children will feel that their lives were better before inheriting that money.
Fortunately, there is light on the horizon. Studies have also shown that when children feel loved, trusted, appreciated, and grateful, these feelings can serve as antidotes to the issues accompanying inheritance. Purposeful planning uses many different exercises to help descendants feel these emotions. Some exercises include choosing a meaning name for a trust, explaining the parents’ purpose or motivation in creating a trust, giving a gift of life wisdom, or expressing love for children.
Purposeful planning is a new way forward for estate planning. While estate planning is only concerned about legally passing on financial assets, purposeful planning builds upon and encapsulates the technical aspects of estate planning with a human-centered conversation between parents and their loved ones.
Ultimately, a successful purposeful plan passes on wealth and values, expresses love, preserves memories and wisdom, and enriches and empowers lives down through generations.
There is a wealth of activities, questions, and exercises that I use to help families to identify, record, and pass these aspects of life that are truly more important than money.
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