How to Pass Down Your Family Wealth Legacy During The Holidays

Serving the Hawaiian Islands with Estate Planning.

By David Bernstein

Dec 20
Best questions to ask family about estate planning

As you likely already know, but may not have given much thought about, the most important inheritance you provide is so much more than the money you’ll leave behind, but also includes your values, insights, stories, and experience. And, while those things are being passed on happenstance on the daily, we know that intentionally creating a Family Wealth Legacy requires more than happenstance. That’s why as a Personal Family Lawyer®, part of our unique planning process is to capture your legacy in recorded form through something we call a Family Wealth Legacy Interview.

What we’ve discovered is that we can learn so much more than expected -- about ourselves and our loved ones - when we ask the right questions.

So, this year, we invite you to ask your mother, father, and/or another loved one the 32 important questions below that can teach you valuable lessons about love, life, and what matters most. And, don’t just ask them, record their answers to create your own Family Wealth Legacy. Or, contact us to schedule time for a comprehensive Family Wealth Planning Session this month, and we’ll create a Family Wealth Legacy as part of your estate plan.

Use these questions as a springboard and an engaging activity during the holidays and discover what you didn’t know about your loved ones:

  1. What comes to mind when you think about growing up in your hometown?
  2. What did you love to do as a kid, before high school?
  3. What did you love to do in high school?
  4. What do you remember most about your teenage years?
  5. What do you remember most about your mom (grandma)?
  6. What was most important to her?
  7. What do you remember most about your dad (grandpa)?
  8. What was most important to him?
  9. If Grandma and Grandpa had a message to pass along to the grandchildren, what would it be?
  10. How did you meet your spouse? How did you know (s)he was the one?
  11. How did you choose your career? What was your favorite part about it?
  12. What made you successful?
  13. What did you believe about yourself that helped you become successful and deal with hard times?
  14. What times in your life truly “tested your mettle,” and what did you learn about yourself by dealing (or not dealing) with them?
  15. What three events most shaped your life?
  16. What do you remember about when I was born?
  17. Were you ever scared to be a parent?
  18. What three words would you say represented your approach to parenting and why?
  19. When you think about [sibling] how would you describe him/her?
  20. What message do you have for [sibling] that you want him/her to always keep in mind?

    [Do the last two questions above for each sibling in your family]
  21. When you think about [spouse], how would you describe her/him?
  22. What message do you have for [spouse] that you want her/him to always keep in mind?
  23. What three words would you say best describe who you tried to be in life? How would you like to be remembered?
  24. What do you think your children and grandchildren should focus on professionally?
  25. What have you learned about people in life?
  26. What do you think the world needs more of right now?
  27. What do you believe people want the most in life?
  28. What were the three best decisions you ever made?
  29. What are you most proud of?
  30. What were five of the most memorable moments of your life?
  31. What message would you like to share with your family?
  32. What are you most thankful for?

These questions can reveal a wealth of valuable life lessons - family treasures to discuss and share with generations to come. But having this conversation is just a start. To preserve and protect your family assets and other things of value, you should create a comprehensive estate plan that will safeguard what you value most. And, we include a recorded Family Wealth Legacy Interview, which becomes a priceless family legacy piece for your loved ones, with every estate plan we create. Because we’ve discovered that estate planning is really a misnomer; when done right, it’s Life and Legacy Planning -- planning for a life you love and a legacy worth leaving. 

As your Personal Family Lawyer®, we can guide you to create a comprehensive estate plan -- which we prefer to call and see as a Life and Legacy Plan because it’s about so much more than just your “estate” -- that protects and preserves your most valuable assets. Before the session, we’ll send you a Family Wealth Inventory and Assessment to complete that will get you thinking about what you own, what matters most to you, and what you want to leave behind. Contact us today to schedule your Family Wealth Planning Session.

Proper estate planning can keep your family out of conflict, out of court, and out of the public eye. If you’re ready to create a comprehensive estate plan, contact us to schedule your Family Wealth Planning Session. Even if you already have a plan in place, we will review it and help you bring it up to date to avoid heartache for your family. Schedule online today.