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The First Step in Estate Planning - Communication

March 25, 2019

Retirement Planning - CommunicationWritten by Centier Financial Partners

As you know Centier Financial Partners provides a comprehensive Trust and Investment Management experience. That means we deal with some of the most complicated trust and investment opportunities as well as some of the more straightforward situations. The one constant in those relationships is communication. Communication that is concise and well-thought and communication that is far more difficult to discern the person’s intent. Often times the subject of that challenge is personal property.

As we age we often begin to speculate on who might want the things we have that we experience in everyday life or perhaps things we associate with special memories or people in our lives. These items can range from a favorite piece of furniture to a piece of jewelry we consider an heirloom. We put a great deal of thought into who should have these things. You sometimes hear stories about families putting a piece of masking tape on the bottom of a vase or lamp (marked with a person’s name of course) or even starting a “draft” for items, dividing things up with the person right in the room. Believe it or not these are often the more civilized methods. Why?

If you discuss with family members individually (or collectively) what they feel has a certain meaning or memory they are usually more committed to making sure they retain that item. They are also often grateful to share that memory with you and give you the joy of having “given” it to you. This can be true of items passed immediately or at some time in the future. The experience no one wants to have is when the conversation is avoided, and the items that have special meaning to someone are almost literally piled in with the rest of life’s debris – that debris being the items we have in our life that are useful to us – like a coffee pot or a television – but perhaps not how I want to remember you. Fighting for the items of value seems to only heighten the anxiety and emotion of grieving. This is a time when we want to have fond memories, avoiding treating family like our competition when it comes to “winning” the family silver service. 

The bottom line is this. Communicate with your family – individually and collectively – what you would like them to have and perhaps even share why. That leads to an experience for both of you that will never be duplicated and one that you will always remember. A case in point - my grandfather left me an old AM transistor radio, covered in paint with a missing battery door. Why would he choose me to have that particular item? Because he recalled sitting on his patio with me listening to professional baseball games (grandpa was a Minnesota Twins fan). And now I can remember those times too. Something so small suddenly becomes priceless.

Please remember Centier Financial Partners can help.  

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