As families grow and mature, we come to understand that not only each generation, but each member of the family has unique needs and challenges. During these years, while personally interested in avoiding fourth quarter fumbles, building smart estate plans and building portfolios that reflect our age and stage, we also begin to reflect on leaving a legacy and passing on to the next generation not only our valuables but our values.

We want to make sure that nothing ends up in probate and that the tangible items and financial assets that we have worked so hard to secure will be transferred seamlessly to those we love. Planning for the orderly and tax-efficient transfer of assets can require a fair amount of thought, professional advice and proper legal documentation.

Inadequate tax planning and liquidity issues may force a “fire sale” of important assets, and lack of specificity may lead to conflicts between heirs. Beyond that is the possibility that some heirs will involuntarily lose control of the inheritance left them due to outside sources – or even the heirs themselves. The reality is that many inheritors are not well-prepared to make good financial decisions. Seeing a large pot of money could tempt them to splurge and overspend.

Without proper planning, the inheritance you pass on could easily dissolve, rather than providing your children and grandchildren with the legacy you’d envisioned.

During these years, it’s important to educate younger family members, who may need help setting goals, planning their careers and determining the right balance between saving, investing and paying down debt. 

Often, we begin this process with a targeted financial plan, focusing on 5- and 10-year goals. This plan helps provide clarity and informs action plans customized to the unique situation of each family member. Through this process, we help younger family members gain financial savvy and confidence.

If you are looking for smart ways to improve financial literacy and decision making across generations while ensuring your values are embedded into the plan, Stearns Financial can help. We know what it takes to fully optimize and plan for the various twists and turns that come with living a rich and full life – including transferring your assets when it is clear you will no longer need it for your own health and enjoyment.

Questions you may have:

How can you help guide my children and grandchildren given their needs are so different from my own?

How can I develop a family mission statement and generate meaningful conversations with my heirs?

Are there income and estate tax strategies that could be beneficial if used?

I already have a complex estate and financial plan – can you provide a surgical “second opinion” to make sure my plan does what I think it will do?

What is the best way to transfer my financial assets, closely-held family business and/or my real estate?

Can you help us with a plan to share life lessons, ethics, memories, stories, customs and traditions?

How can I leave a legacy, beyond my next of kin, through smart gifting to favorite charities?

What is the best way to reduce friction within the family if I am no longer able to serve as matriarch or patriarch?



Life brings us changes whether we are ready for them or not. There are the types of changes we plan for—growing up, moving out on our own, starting careers and families, buying a home…and then there are the unexpected changes we don’t like to talk about: job loss, divorce, or death of a partner.

And when life changes, money changes. 

Contact us for a confidential conversation today.