Steve Greenstein, Executive VP of the Sanibel Captiva Trust Company spoke via Zoom to the November meeting of the Sanibel Captiva Lions Club. The topic of his talk was “How to Talk to Your Heirs About Managing Inherited Wealth.” We appreciated Steve’s clear presentation of the issues involved and why and how to address them.
He stressed the power of communication to reduce the potential family disputes and hard feelings when the estate is settled. He indicated that studies show that over 80% of the family members felt that they were fairly treated when they received advanced communication on the estate plan. He indicated that there are three paths that people seem to follow in discussing estate plans: not at all, a little bit goes a long way, tell all.
A frank discussion with the heirs gives the parents and children and opportunity to discuss how personal as well as financial assets should be distributed. Who wants the silverware and china? Who wants the artwork? Why did you collect all those match book covers, why they are valuable, and how you would like them distributed? Why do you plan to leave different amounts of assets to different members of the family?
He explained that fair does not necessarily mean equal. The needs of one child may be greater than the needs of another. An open discussion of the issues will help both the parents and the heirs understand and accept the distribution.
Steve suggested that there should be a meeting with Mom, Dad, Daughter, and Son. This meeting should also include any trust officers and the estate attorney. This will give all parties involved a chance to meet each other, review the estate plan and give a fuller understanding of the nature of any trust documents and how the assets are to flow after the parents are deceased.
The Sanibel Captiva Lions Club has been serving the Sanibel and Captiva Communities for over 50 years. While the Lions Club is most known for their effort to eliminate preventable blindness, the club serves citizens of the Islands and greater Southwest Florida in a variety of ways. The local club is part of Lions Club International, the largest service organization in the world with over 1.4 million members in chapters in over 200 countries.
Sanibel Captiva Lions Club holds regular dinner meetings on the first and third Wednesday of the month during the year. Visiting Lions or other interested people are welcome to attend. For more information on the Sanibel Captiva Lions Club contact Membership Chair Lion Steven Schulz at PO Box 391, Sanibel, FL 33957, or 239-233-6261, or visit our website at www.sanibelcaptivalionsclub.org.