Year End Planning: Schedule a Family Meeting

 It’s hard to believe that in just a few short weeks, the holiday season will be upon us.  Family gatherings during the holidays are rare occasions when parents and siblings are in the same place at the same time.  While these gatherings are wonderful opportunities for casual conversations and reminiscing, why not use this time to have a productive family meeting?

It is important for families, no matter the ages of the family members, to have serious conversations about the legal and financial planning in place; or the planning that is not in place that needs to be.  Important points for discussion may be:

  • Legal Documents – Do all family members over the age of 18 have their own Durable Powers of Attorney (POAs for Health Care and General Financial are needed)?  Do those assigned as POAs understand their potential responsibilities in their roles?  Are wills or trusts in place or needed?
  • Financial Savings – Particularly for elder family members, are there financial resources and structures in place to fund potential long-term care needs in the future?  For younger family members, is there an opportunity to use year-end gifting to help fund education or retirement savings (i.e. ROTH IRAs)?
  • Elder Care Planning – For family members who are aging, this meeting may be an opportunity to start conversations about future care.   Discussions regarding future housing and care needs, as well as a review of the older relative’s future challenges, alternatives and resources are important.  In particular, beginning to lay out future roles of family members is critical to the future success of this kind of planning.  For a list of questions that might be helpful in starting these conversations, click here.

As you look forward to the holiday season, plan for good food and family stories.  But also plan for important conversations that can affect your family’s legal and financial success.  By planning ahead for these conversations, family members can be prepared to contribute to the planning in a meaningful way.  For additional tips on holding these all-important family meetings, talk to your financial planner.

Any opinions are those of Center for Financial Planning, Inc., and not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James.