Gifting sounds like a nice thing but it is filled with anxiety, pressure and unintended outcomes.  I cannot count the number of times that an individual has approached me about family gifting.   Increasingly, parents are being asked by their adult children for gifts.  Some of these requests are substantial in size with the potential to place the parents in financial jeopardy.  I see this as a worrisome trend.

I have written a 6 blog series (this introductory blog plus 5 blogs on key questions to consider when gifting).  I call this my ‘One Big Happy Family’ series.  I’ve presented versions of this series in small informal groups, large formal presentations and on conference calls.  Participants have ranged from wealth management and legal professionals through to parents and other relatives of young and middle-aged adults.

In this series I will suggest 5-key questions that needs to be asked when gifting is being considered.   There is no right answer.  Each family is unique and each person within the family is unique.  The problems arise when:

1.  Families try to keep secrets (they will eventually surface)

2.  One child feels unfairly treated because their life circumstances are (perceived) to be more challenging but the other siblings thing it’s unfair to be ‘punished’ for running their lives successfully

3.  The parents don’t stay in control of the decisions and worry instead about the future.  Deal with things as they are today – tomorrow is out of your control.

Best wishes to every family dealing with these issues.