Dr. Tom Deans is an award-winning speaker and a best-selling author. His two books are called: “Every Family’s Business” and “Willing Wisdom”. He joins our project to talk about how and why families need to have the difficult conversations about estate planning. Deans explores the idea that communication is crucial to the success of that transfer, and indeed to the success of individuals, families and communities. Tom believes that better documents make better decisions and these decisions are born out of better conversations.
About Dr. Tom Deans
Tom speaks on the international lecture circuit full time. Having delivered more than 500 speeches, he has built a reputation as a thought leader on the subject of intergenerational wealth transfer.
His lectures and books argue that family has emerged as the greatest economic driver of all time. But the question remains: How can wealth be transferred successfully without destroying the recipient and the wealth itself?
It is a question for the times, as the greatest generation of wealth creators move toward death in record numbers. Deans explores the idea that communication is crucial to the success of that transfer, and indeed to the success of individuals, families and communities.
The idea to write Willing Wisdom came from Tom watching his mother’s parents die. One death – his grandfather’s – was comparatively quick. His grandmother’s was a long and slow ten-year decline. Despite the significant wealth his grandparents left for family and charity, it is the conversations they shared that Tom thought about the most many years later.
In the end, when it came down to their last breaths, only the care provided by Tom’s parents, not money or even the promise of money, could purchase the dignified death each experienced.
Tom is not sure when he first became curious about why our culture has lost its inquisitiveness about death and dying, but he does know, having delivered his keynote speech on transitioning family wealth to tens of thousands of people around the world, that this trend is worsening.
We live in a culture that is in awe of wealth and all that it can provide. We also live in a culture that finds it difficult to talk about and contemplate death. The two are inextricably connected.
Tom starts conversations, but rarely does he finish them, leaving that to readers and their families, friends and trusted advisors.
Willing Wisdom represents a return to the subject of his doctoral research, conducted in the US, Canada and the UK and first published in Charities and Government by Manchester University Press.
Tom lives in a forest in the beautiful Hockley Valley in Ontario, Canada, with his wife, two children and five dogs.
More than 125 million US and Canadian citizens over the age of 18 have no Will.
A collaborative approach to the most important document you will ever write: Your Will. This is a tragedy in the making that will transcend money and is guaranteed to affect relationships profoundly and irreversibly. The time for a new relationship-based approach to estate planning is upon us.
Willing Wisdom seeks to change the perception of what a Will is and what it can be. It aims to ignite the passion in the hearts and minds of everyday people – people rich and poor – to use their Will to invest in what ought to matter most – relationships. This can happen only through trust and collaboration, as well as trust in collaboration. By engaging in conversation with intended beneficiaries about death, the potential for living life more fully and purposefully is vastly improved.
This simple idea of making one of the most secretive documents in one’s life into a collective work of art will be challenging for many. This book will convince you that it’s a risk worth taking.
Money and control, which often bring comfort in the temporal world, can be lethal and toxic for a generation heading for the exit. As they approach that day, control over money – and health-care decisions – must often be relinquished. That more than half the population will die without a Will, die without any conversation with their family and friends about their end, is symptomatic of a culture entranced and immobilized by the fear of death
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