A Key Conversation
[May is Legacy Month at Abundance Canada, and throughout the month we are sharing a variety of information about will and estate planning on our website and through social media. We invite you to share, like, and comment.]
Reticent to face our own mortality and influenced by countless TV and movie plots where inheritances lead to mayhem, we often avoid broaching the subject of will and estate planning. Too many of us treat our wills with intense privacy, when in actual fact ones’ will is quite public, or at least becomes so when we die. After experiencing first-hand the impact of keeping will and estate plans a secret, Abundance Canada clients Bob and Grace Hayward* are proving a wonderful example of how to approach the subject with generosity and transparency.
“My own family fought horribly after my parents died,” recalls Grace. “My parents never talked about their [financial] affairs with us. They thought we’d just work that stuff out after they were gone.” However, ‘working it out’ did not go smoothly. Conflict arose over how best to manage the estate and before anyone knew what was going on, huge discrepancies had arisen in the accounting and several cherished items had been sold or given away. Grace walked away from the experience determined that she and Bob would share their own plans with their kids long before she and her husband passed away.
As empty nesters in their mid-sixties, the Haywards recently started moving from full-time careers to part-time work and eventual retirement. They are excited about spending more time with their children and grandchildren, and hope to do some travelling. After working with their financial advisor and their lawyer to put everything in place, they felt ready to embark on a long and full retirement. However, they wanted to do more with their money than just take care of themselves.
While raising their three children, Bob and Grace had always tried to model generosity. They felt good about helping the kids with the cost of tuition and other expenses, and look forward to continuing this tradition with their grandchildren in the coming years. They already support a few different charities and want to increase their giving as they move into their golden years. “We don’t feel rich but, we know that even small amounts can make a big difference to some organizations,” says Grace.
To this end, the Haywards recently started an Abundance Canada gifting account, making a modest initial gift and arranging to add to it throughout their retirement. Then, as they re-examined their will, they decided to include the new gifting account as an additional beneficiary. Now, the Haywards’ estate will be divided into four equal shares. One for each child, and an additional share to be added to the gifting account as a charitable donation. Bob and Grace are planning a family get together this summer where they’ll have a frank conversation with their children, sharing their values and explaining their plans. They hope the kids will accept the invitation to join them in deciding which charities to support with the new gifting account.
Have you discussed your will and estate with your family? Certainly, it can be tough to talk about death, and it might be awkward to discuss your estate, but like the Haywards learned, keeping silent can have serious consequences. Connecting now can be the key to unlocking your legacy of giving today and tomorrow. For more information about will and estate planning, download a copy of our FREE guide today.
*Although based upon true client experiences, names and details in the Hayward’s story have been changed to protect the privacy of the individuals.
Contributed by Darren Pries-Klassen