How Do the Wealthy View Inherited Wealth?

A recent Barclays Wealth study of 2,000 high net worth individuals reveals interesting findings that warrant consideration by all of us when thinking about our estate plan beneficiaries.

The survey found that there is a stronger correlation between wealth and happiness when the wealth is earned rather than inherited. Also, people who inherit their wealth are more likely to experience family conflicts. Overall, 34% of the wealthy are either ambivalent or do not trust their children and stepchildren to protect their inheritance.

A survey of 457 wealthy individuals by U. S. Trust, a private bank, found that approximately 78% of the respondents believe their children won’t be mature enough to handle their inheritance until they are at least 30 years old and 45% believe their children will not be mature enough until they are 35 or older.

While few of my clients are dedicated “SKIers” (Spending the Kids’ Inheritance) intent on leaving no inheritance to their children, the Barclay’s and U. S. Trust  studies highlight the value of careful estate planning to minimize family conflict and to ensure that beneficiaries embrace the same values as the people who were the source of their inheritance.