Four Key Life Skills Your Children Need to Have Before They Inherit

Related image

Years ago, the famous musician Sting explained in an interview why he’s not planning on leaving his vast fortune to his own kids. He wants his kids to be self-reliant…..and he’s planning on spending the money himself. You don’t have to be rich and famous to have strong opinions about your kids and money. While Sting’s children will not see much of his millions, not all parents (whether or not they are rich and famous) feel the way he does. Many family fortunes have been built (and lost) across generations. The difference is that over time, successful families develop skills for respecting, protecting and growing inherited wealth. So regardless of how much money your family has (or expects to accumulate over time), it’s important for all families to understand how to equip their children for the future.

Covie Edwards-Pitt, the author of a book called Raised Healthy, Wealthy, & Wise, says there are four critical skills children must develop before they receive an inheritance from parents or a trust. She interviewed scores of successful inheritors to identify theses four skills, which are:

The ability to earn their own money and live off what they make. Children raised with wealth feel they are the most successful when they earn enough on their own to support themselves without the family money.

The ability to set and pursue their own work goals. Children of wealth who are encouraged to find work they enjoy are much more likely to find satisfaction in that work if they are taught that it takes time and perseverance to reach this goal and that they should focus on learning from every job and give it their best.

The ability to develop self-worth that is separate from family wealth. Children who develop a core identity based on their own accomplishments and the choices they make in life are much happier and more successful.

The ability to be resilient and bounce back from adversity. Family wealth can cushion many blows, but the most successful inheritors are those who were allowed to experience and navigate failure on their own.

One of the main goals of our law practice is to help families like yours plan for the safe, successful transfer of wealth to the next generation. We strive to identify the best strategies for you and your family to ensure your legacy of love and financial security. Attorney Myrna Serrano Setty doesn’t just draft documents, she helps families love and protect what matters most. Myrna may be reached at (813) 514-2946 or at info@serranosetty.com.

Parenting: Build Your Child’s Resilience to Support Their Ultimate Success

If you are like most parents, your primary objective is to support your children and help them to be prepared to handle the pressures of adulthood. If you have wondered what the most important thing you can do now to support your child is, this article has your answers, and it may not be what you think. If there is one human trait which helps to navigate all of life’s stages, it is resilience. Resilience is the ability to bounce back, move forward, and learn from life’s setbacks. As a parent, one of the greatest gifts you can give your child is the gift of learning how to make mistakes, learn from them, and grow as a result. How you do this may be surprising. The foundation for developing resilience in your child is threefold: 1) develop resilience in your own life; 2) help your kids learn from their mistakes and setbacks and 3) let your children see your own resilience and how you learn from your own mistakes and setbacks.

You want to strike a balance between open communication with your children, sharing your mistakes and lessons, and shielding them from information that may create unnecessary insecurity.

As an example, imagine that you face a situation at work that creates adversity for you. You could come home and complain about your co-workers, your boss or your team, or you could take full responsibility for where you might be creating a stressful situation and share with your child what you are going to do to face the challenge head-on and make it better.  Wherever you notice that you could have done better, or you made a mistake, tell your child about it and what you learned.

When your child makes a mistake, celebrate the opportunity to learn, rather than reinforcing the “wrongness” of the experience. Remember, some of the most successful people on the planet failed first. What made them an ultimate success? They had the resilience and support to recognize that failure was simply part of the journey, and they kept going.

So how does estate planning fit into developing resilience in your children? First and foremost, resilience comes when your children know that no matter what happens, you love and accept them and will always be there for them. It is having that deep knowing that creates the security that allows your children to take the risks that others can’t or won’t.

When you’ve handled your estate planning and talked with your kids about what you’ve set up (when they are old enough, we’ll invite them in for a family meeting to explain your plan and why you have made the decisions you did), they get the clear message that you’ve done everything possible to be there for them, even if someday you cannot be there physically.

Including them in the process when they are old enough will help them understand that you trust them, that you are working with them to design a future that is positive for your whole family, and that you trust and respect their input.

If you don’t feel that your kids are trustworthy enough to be included in your estate planning process, let’s talk about that. We can support you in making decisions about how your plans will be carried out.

Estate planning can (and should) be about so much more than just passing on your money. It’s about your legacy.

This article is a service of attorney Myrna Serrano Setty, who helps people protect what matters most.  That’s why we offer a Life and Legacy Planning Session,™ where we can identify the best strategies for you and your family. Myrna may be reached at (813) 514-2946 or at info@serranosetty.com.

Talking to Your Kids About School Violence

 

 

 

 

On February 14, 2018, there was another mass shooting at a school, this time in Parkland, Florida. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families devastated by this tragedy. As we struggle to cope with this tragedy, we need to figure out how to talk about this with our kids. Parents can help their kids feel safe (or safer) by establishing a sense of normalcy and security and by talking to them about their fears. At some point, our kids are going to learn about what happened, and we need to be prepared to talk about it.

How do we do that? Here are some tips:

1.     Observe your child’s emotional state. Sometimes it takes a while for anxiety and depression to manifest itself. You know your child better than anyone. And don’t be afraid to seek professional help. 

2.     Make time to talk. Let your child’s questions guide you in how much information to provide. Sometimes it takes a while for them to express their feelings.

3.     Validate their feelings. Let them talk about their fears.

4.     Keep your explanations developmentally appropriate. For example, kids in early elementary need brief, simple information balanced with assurance that school personnel are there to protect them. Give simple reminders of school safety, like reminding them about school safety drills and locked doors.

5.     Review safety procedures at home and at school. This is a good chance to also review your family’s emergency procedures. For example, if something happened to you, who would the school contact? Who would have the legal authority to take care of your kids? What happens if you don’t live near family?

6.     Limit television viewing. We live in an era of the 24-hour news cycle. This can be overwhelming, even for adults.

7.     Explain that there’s a difference between reporting, tattling and gossiping. Encourage kids to talk to a trusted adult if they see or hear about something that may harm others.

8.     Explain that while there is no absolute guarantee that nothing bad will ever happen, you will try your best to keep them safe because you love them more than anything in this world.

This article is a service of attorney Myrna Serrano Setty, who does more than just draft documents. She guides families through difficult topics, like estate planning, so they can protect what matters most. Myrna may be reached at (813) 514-2946 and info@serranosetty.com.

5 Common Estate Planning Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Image result for mistake

Since estate planning involves thinking about death, many people put it off until their senior years, or simply ignore it all together until it becomes too late. This kind of unwillingness to face reality can create a major hardship, expense, and mess for the loved ones and assets you leave behind.

While not having any estate plan is the biggest blunder you can make, even those who do create a plan can run into trouble if they don’t understand exactly how estate plans work.

Here are some of the most common mistakes people make with estate planning:

1. Not creating a will

While wills aren’t the ultimate estate planning tool, they are one of the bare minimum requirements. A will lets you designate who will receive your property upon your death, and it also allows you to name specific guardians for your minor children. Without a will, your property will be distributed based on your state’s intestate laws (which probably don’t align with your wishes), and a judge who doesn’t know you or your family, will choose a guardian for your children under 18. On top of that….your kids will get whatever you own outright, with no guidance, direction, or intention, as long as they’re over 18.

2. Not updating beneficiary designations

A lot of times people forget to change their beneficiary designations to match their estate planning desires. Check with your life insurance company and retirement-account holders to find out who would receive those assets in the event of your death.

If you have a trust, you’ll likely want the trust to the beneficiary. This does not happen automatically upon creating a trust. You actually have to make the change. See the section below for more on funding your trust.

You also never want to name a minor as a beneficiary of your life insurance or retirement accounts, or even as the secondary beneficiary. If they were to inherit these assets, the assets become subject to the control of the court until he or she turns 18.

3. Not funding your trust

Many people assume that simply listing assets in a trust is enough to ensure they’ll be distributed properly. But this isn’t true. Some assets—real estate, bank accounts, securities, brokerage accounts—must be “funded” to the trust in order for them to be actually transferred without having to go through court. Funding involves changing the name on the title of the property or account to list the trust as the owner. Whenever you acquire new assets after your trust is created, you must make sure those assets are also titled into your trust.

Unfortunately, many people have trusts, but their assets aren’t actually in the trust. Crazy, right?!? But we see it all the time. You need to make sure your assets are inventoried, titled properly, and the inventory is maintained throughout your lifetime, so your assets aren’t lost and don’t get stuck in court upon your incapacity or death.

4. Not reviewing documents

Estate plans are not a “one-and-done” deal. As time passes, your life circumstances change, the laws change, and your assets change. Given this, you must update your plan to reflect these changes—that is, if you want it to actually work for your loved ones, keeping them out of court and out of conflict.

We recommend reviewing your plan annually to make sure its terms are up to date. And be sure to immediately update your estate plan following major life events like divorce, births, deaths, and inheritances. We’ve got built-in processes to make sure this happens—ask us about them.

Moreover, an annual life review can be a beautiful ritual that puts you at ease knowing you’ve got everything handled and updated each year.

5. Not leaving an inventory of assets

Even if you’ve properly “funded” your assets into your trust, your estate plan won’t be worth much if heirs can’t find your assets. Indeed, there’s more than $58 billion dollars worth of lost assets in the U.S. coffers right now. Can you believe that? It happens because someone dies or becomes incapacitated but their assets cannot be found.

That’s why we create a detailed inventory of assets, indicating exactly where to find each asset, such as your cemetery plot deed, bank and credit statements, mortgages, securities documents, and safe deposit box/keys. Not to mention your digital assets like social media accounts and cryptocurrency, along with their passwords and security keys. We cover all of this in our plans.

Beyond these common errors, there are many additional pitfalls that can impact your estate planning. At our firm, we guide you through the process, helping you to not only avoid mistakes but also implement strategies to ensure your true family’s legacy will continue to grow long after you’re gone.

This article is a service of attorney Myrna Serrano Setty. Myrna doesn’t just draft documents, she helps you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love. That’s why we offer a Life and Legacy Planning Session, ™ during which you will get more financially organized than you’ve ever been before, and make all the best choices for the people you love. You can begin by calling our office today at (813) 514-2946 to schedule an appointment.