Insights from Warren Buffett: Bridging Wealth, Estate Planning, and Family Conversations
If you are going to take investment and estate planning advice from anyone, Warren Buffett is likely one you want to consider. As one of the most successful investors in history, his track record speaks for itself. However, his wisdom goes beyond picking stocks and making money.
At this year’s Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting, Buffett shared several pieces of financial advice but also provided insights on the importance of estate planning and involving family in the process.
Raising Kids Well is Key in Effective Wealth Planning
During a Q&A session with an estate planning attorney, Buffett stressed the importance of talking to your children about your estate planning well before your death. Buffett stated, “If the children are grown when the will is read to them and it’s the first they’ve heard about what the deceased thought about things, the parents have made a terrible mistake.”
Leaving your family in the dark about your personal and financial wishes until you die or become incapacitated due to an accident or illness can lead to large amounts of confusion and conflict among family members. If you do not want to leave a mess, do not wait to talk to the people you love.
Just as we advise our clients and build into our estate planning process, Buffett recommends involving your heirs in the planning process. By doing so, you can ensure that everyone is on the same page and that your wishes are understood and respected far in advance. Additionally, this provides an opportunity to discuss your values and beliefs with your heirs, which can have a lasting impact on their lives. Buffett expressed that if you really want your heirs to act responsibly with their inheritance, you must live out your values and instill them in your heirs.
How to Start the Conversation About Estate Planning With Your Heirs
So how do you start the conversation about estate planning with your heirs?
We recommend you do it directly and with an invitation to meet with you and your lawyer together. This is something we love to do with our clients, and we would love to support your family in this way too. You might say something like: “I want to make sure that we’re all taken care of, both now and in the future. That’s why I’d like to talk to you about my wishes for our family resources, and how we can ensure that everything is handled smoothly when I can’t be here.”
If your loved ones are not immediately open to having a conversation about estate planning with you, or are resistant to how you want your assets managed after your death, do not worry. Talking about estate planning can be uncomfortable at first, but as you normalize the topic, the conversation will become easier and more open.
If you are worried that filling your heirs in on what they will receive will cause harm, feel free to contact us. This is a place we can really help by supporting you to get prepared to have a conversation with your heirs and also supporting them to be ready to receive their inheritance.
When you talk money and inheritance with your heirs during your lifetime, you have the opportunity to truly pass on your values (along with the money and things). If you wait until you are incapacitated or have died, it is simply too late.
Finally, if you are the future heir of a parent who has not yet talked with you about estate planning, you can jumpstart the conversation by getting your own planning done. Then talk with your parents about the choices you made, why you made them, and let them know you would like to help them feel comfortable talking to you about the choices they are making. If you are not sure how to handle any of this, please reach out.
Thoughtful Guidance to Build Your Personal and Financial Life and Legacy
Warren Buffett’s advice on building and preserving wealth is timeless and valuable no matter the size of your family or your estate. By involving your heirs in your estate planning and investing in yourself, you can set yourself and your loved ones up for long-term financial success and create a legacy that spans not only through your life but through the generations that follow you.
If you are not sure where to start or how to talk about your wishes with your family, give us a call or schedule a no-cost initial consultation today.
We would be happy to guide you and your loved ones through the process of creating an estate plan that focuses on the needs and hearts of everyone it involves, so you can build a life you love today knowing that your loved ones and your community will be impacted by your legacy for years to come.