Begin before the end.
Why families need to have inheritance conversations now.

Survey findings

  • The traditional view of inheritance is changing—it's more than a will.
  • Parents and children aren't talking to each other about it—but they're happier if they do.
  • Reluctance to communicate is driven by emotional barriers on both sides.
  • Increasing longevity makes inheritance only part of wealth transfer planning.
  • Boomers and Millennials have different perspectives on wealth transfer.

For many, the idea of inheritance means discussions in a lawyer's office about a family member who has passed on, and a dramatic reveal of the contents of a will. The latest issue of UBS Investor Watch—our quarterly survey—examines the changing dynamics surrounding inheritance; in particular, what families are saying, what they're not—and why.

Highlights

The traditional view of inheritance is changing—it's more than a will. Inheritance planning is no longer about just having a will or waiting until the end. It's about parents actively engaging children earlier on. Satisfaction with the inheritance process goes up significantly when children know the details ahead of time—with 90% being highly satisfied.

Parents and children aren't talking to each other about it—but they're happier if they do. Active inheritance planning increases the need for dialogue. But neither party feels comfortable having this conversation. In fact, while 83% of parents have a current will, only 50% have discussed inheritance plans with their children. And only 34% have revealed their wealth.

Reluctance to communicate is driven by emotional barriers on both sides. Parents don't think inheritance is a pressing issue and are often in denial about their mortality. They also don't want their children to feel "entitled." Conversely, children don't want to appear greedy or break the family standard of not talking about money. But both sides agree; it's up to the parents to start the conversation.

Increasing longevity means inheritance is just part of wealth transfer planning.
Inheritance planning includes elements such as "giving while living," multigenerational giving, and tax and estate planning. 60% of parents would prefer to begin passing on their wealth to their children while living. But they must take into account the impact of realities such as long-term care and increasing healthcare costs.

Boomers and Millennials have different perspectives on wealth transfer. As Boomers live longer, they prefer to transfer part of their wealth while living—and they want to do so more than parents of any other generation—­to enable and share cherished experiences with their children and grandchildren.  

Our Financial Advisors understand that passing down wealth to the next generation can be complicated, but a comprehensive financial plan and open dialogue will ease the stress and uncertainty. Find a Financial Advisor today.