10 Step Generational Wealth Transfer Checklist



The Checklist


1. Are all family members aware of the extent and nature of the assets?


2. Has the family created a family wealth mission together?


3. Has the family developed a strategy to implement the family mission?


4. Have the roles needed to carry out the strategy been defined?


5. Are there measurable standards to determine qualifications for each recipient to receive the responsibility to be a steward of wealth?

a. Education

b. Experience

c. Family relationship


6. Has the competence level required for each role been clearly defined?


7. Are the recipients and family leaders in agreement on the application of standards and competencies for the roles?


8. Have the recipients selected specific roles and declared their interest in preparing for and serving in those roles?

a. They understand their chosen role.

b. They have appreciation for the role.

c. They are likely to find personal fulfillment and happiness in preparing and filling the role.


9. Have conflicts between recipients who may be aspiring to the same role been resolved?

a. Have competition, fear and loathing of being involved, what’s best for the family been addressed?


10. Has a specific program of preparation been designed and accepted by family members that designates candidates for identified roles?



Successfully Transferring Wealth

In my experience and research there are three basic requirements to successfully transfer wealth to future generations:


1. Get all family members involved.


If everyone isn’t on board, prepared, or understands their individual and collective roles the ship is sure to sink. Lack of communication and trust account for a vast majority of wealth transfer failures.


Every member must be informed of the details of the assets to be transferred, prepared to be a steward of the assets, and manage them in a way that is inline with the family mission.


2. Each recipient must be required to learn, practice, and demonstrate certain skills to become a steward of generational wealth.


Patriarchs and Matriarchs must begin an assessment of interests, development of skills, and set heirs on a path of formal education as early as the recipient’s teen years to increase the likelihood of a successful transfer that will continue though multiple generations. The family must develop the ability to track progress and provide open support of family members. Access to a trusted mentor can help fulfil this requirement.


3. Develop a clearly stated family wealth mission.


A clearly stated family wealth mission provides guidance on a family’s balance of financial comfort, education, experiences, business and societal goals, and philanthropic goals. The family mission specifies:

  • The creation of incentives to pursue the requirements to receive a full transfer of the recipient’s share.

  • Creates opportunities for their personal and professional growth.

  • Empowers heirs to make informed decisions as to their personal involvement in managing the assets, business, etc.

  • Encourages community involvement.


4. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate


Increase communication through regularly scheduled family meetings to discuss issues and changes. Communication must be open to everyone including spouses. Plan ahead for each meeting. Be intentional with the business and fun focus of each. These should be 1-2 day affairs where everyone is heard avoiding lecture time while encouraging participation.



10 Step Generational Wealth Transfer


1. Are all family members aware of the extent and nature of the assets?


All members must review the estate plans and documents. Children who do not know the extent of the wealth can never discuss what they might do with it. Adults who read conditions that they feel are onerous or intrusive can only discuss those feeling with parents while they are still alive.


2. Has the family created a family wealth mission together?


The entire family participates in the most important decisions such as defining the mission that defines expectations of heirs; importance of competence on issues; sets standards for courtesy, consideration, listening and inclusion.


Current documents make distributions based on readiness not age that set qualifications for distributions such as 5 yr employment with consistent promotions. The entire family must create these standards and agree to them.


3. Has the family developed a strategy to implement the family mission?


4. Have the roles needed to carry out the strategy been defined?


All recipients have the option of participating in the management of the assets based on their level of competence and interest. They should be prepared to be concerned with the quality of management of the family assets.


5. Are there measurable standards to determine qualifications for each recipient to receive the responsibility to be a steward of wealth?

a. Education

b. Experience

c. Family relationship


6. Has the competence level required for each role been clearly defined?


7. Are the recipients and family leaders in agreement on the application of standards and competencies for the roles?


8. Have the recipients selected specific roles and declared their interest in preparing for and serving in those roles?

a. They understand their chosen role.