7 Questions To Start A Family Legacy Conversation
By: Ashlea Ebeling - October 30, 2017
Can a card game help you decide who gets grandma's silver set and grandpa's tackle box? At least it can help to get the conversation going.
+ What cherished possession might your family fight over?
That's one of the 52 questions in a deck of "Conversation Starters" cards put together by a Chicago-based husband and wife psychologist team, Carolyn Friend and James Weiner, who help affluent folks and their financial advisors look at the softer side of business succession and estate planning.
"We get into what we call the swamp," says Friend. Friend and Weiner developed the cards at the same time they wrote a book, the Legacy Conversation, what they unfacetiously call "the missing gem in wealth planning."
One example of a family situation they helped mediate: a father who had a successful retail business and had told his son, "One day this will all be yours," but had never had a conversation about how the succession should take place, and had failed to inform other family members working at the business of his plan.
Without signing up for family therapy sessions, using the cards can help families open up communication lines. The cards are grouped into categories to trigger conversations around money, philanthropy, health, wisdom, traditions, "dragons" (that is, jealousy, greed, envy and power struggles), and there are a few wild cards.
"Instead of sidestepping these things in the room, we get the family to acknowledge them and deal with them," Friend says.
One time when Wiener and Friend played the game with their extended family, Wiener handed Friend one of the wild cards:er?
+ If blindfolded for a day, pick a family member as your guide.
Friend said she would pick her youngest daughter. "Why wouldn't you pick us?" her husband and sister probed. "She's younger and more willing to do what I want her to do versus the two of you have your own mindset and would figure out what you wanted me to do," Friend says she told them. No hard feelings, says Wiener.
Don't underestimate the interest of the younger generation in having such talks. My elementary school daughter grabbed the deck off my desk over the holidays and started asking me and my octogenarian mom questions.
Here are five more questions, to round out one from each category, and get your family talking:
+ Have you ever done a good deed anonymously? Why?
+ What is your first memory of a money mistake?
+ Share a home remedy your family used when you were a child.
+ Have you ever found wisdom in a song's lyrics? Name that tune.
+ Which family tradition would you continue with your own family?
Article Source: Forbes