Would you share with me what goes into the crafting of a strong family mission statement?
Planning for a family’s successful financial future remains a priority with high net worth
individuals, especially for baby boomers, the eldest now reaching 63. Some worry that heirs
may waste their inherited good fortune. To limit that possibility, high net worth individuals, as
part of their life planning process, should create a personalized family mission statement that
functions as a playbook for the family’s estate plan.
In the past, traditional wealth managers were reluctant to delve into the personal family
dynamics of estate planning, leaving most of that work to attorneys or other counsel. Today
times have changed, and well-experienced, independent managers do not just manage a
family’s investable net worth but help create a well executed plan and corresponding family
mission statement. Some hire psychologists or other professionals to draft this creed, but most
wealth managers have educated themselves on the intricacies of drafting and implementing a
TWM educates clients on the need for a mission statement as part of the life planning process.
Each new client has a heart-to-heart discussion with the planning team, and central to that
discussion is a family’s relational estate. Understanding a client’s goals for financial as well as
nonfinancial assets, such as a horse or an art collection, is key to developing a successful
mission statement. The relational estate rests on three fundamental building blocks: genetics,
family history and family heritage. The goal is to connect each of these elements and build off
their inner workings to develop a client’s initial mission statement. Once those values are
defined and understood, a high net worth family can expound on those core values and fully
adopt a mission statement that adheres to the family’s basic set of principles and values.
Developing the mission statement often rests on the shoulders of the eldest family benefactors,
but younger family members should not be ignored or kept from planning and implementation
discussions. They are often involved in the planning of a statement without being made aware
of specific assets of an estate or gifting bequests. Your family’s implemented mission plan
should be reviewed with advisors and family members at least every few years. In reviewing the
mission, a family’s goals and aspirations are reaffirmed and may be retooled or refocused.
However, the overall core values of the mission statement are never altered.
A well-written family mission statement should focus on healthy family relationships and
honor the past in order to better the future generations. The goal of wealth managers should
be to develop a mission statement for clients that will be key in implementing a successful long-
term life plan. A well-crafted mission statement can significantly affect how a client’s estate
plan eventually plays out in the lives of inheritors. A successful statement gives a role and
importance to all family members and influences how they wish to operate as part of the