It takes time and care to build and transfer generational wealth, and failing to plan can risk it all. Experts shared how to avoid that fate during a webcast from the Central Jersey Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. 

“Generation to Generation: Love Letters,” a program from the Economic Development Committee, provided strategies, tools and resources for getting your family’s affairs in order. Tips from the webcast, held on February 15, 2023, included:

  • Taking social security.
  • Key documents and information for eldercare. 
  • Ideas for aligning family wishes and money.

Nearly 200 attendees tuned in for straight talk from our speakers: Frank Hundley, CFP, of Hundley McGovern Wealth Management, and Connie Pizzaro, Certified Senior Advisor, of Oasis Senior Advisors.

Frank warned of what can happen when a loved one dies without a will, i.e., intestate.

“The reality is everyone has a will,” said Frank, who is a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. “The question is, did you write it for yourself? Because if you didn’t write your own will, the state you live in has written one for you.” Unless your heirs are listed as beneficiaries on specific accounts, like 401(k)s, that means state laws would dictate who gets your assets. 

The program featured videos of four real-life scenarios:

  • Mom dies without a will; her estranged daughters clash over her estate.
  • Woman fears running out of cash in retirement. 
  • Daughter seeks her aunt’s help as mom’s health deteriorates.
  • Mom leaves a loving letter detailing her last wishes.

Panelists covered more than what happens when you die, but also how to protect your family now and yourself as you age or if you become incapacitated. Dementia may rob us of our ability to remember and think clearly, and Connie explained why it’s better select a Power of Attorney now to support you. 

“When a person has dementia, if they get to the point that they are really diminished in capacity, they cannot sign a power of attorney,” said Connie, a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. “Then the family would have to get guardianship,” an expensive process that requires doctors, lawyers and the courts. 

The experts and the video vignettes resonated with attendees: 93% of exit survey respondents said these topics affect them or their families. Another 93% said they now plan to act. 

“The only word I have is ‘Amazing,’” an attendee said of the program. “The panelists were extremely knowledgeable on the subject matter. This event needs to be a bi-annual event for the very least. Great execution by the Economic Development Committee.”

If you missed the program, click to find it on Central Jersey Alumnae’s YouTube channel.