Families need to talk about inheritance now

Family conversations about estate planning can be complicated and emotionally fraught. That’s one reason families often choose to deal with inheritance issues only after the death of a benefactor. Unfortunately, waiting until a family member passes away can lead to unresolved issues and tensions among heirs.

The good news is that the traditional view of inheritance is changing, and more families are including their heirs in the estate planning process. By starting these conversations early, they’re achieving greater satisfaction.

The UBS Investor Watch survey of high net worth individuals on the subject makes it clear: You should reach out to your Financial Advisor for help managing your estate planning process—and bring your heirs into the conversation—sooner rather than later. In fact, 9 out of 10 heirs report being highly satisfied when they know the details of their parents’ estate plans ahead of time.

Other highlights of the 2014 survey*:

  • 85% Only about half of family benefactors have discussed estate plans with their heirs, and just 34% have shared a complete picture of their wealth. 
  • Including heirs in estate planning conversations has long-term benefits: of heirs said that they were satisfied to have resolved issues ahead of time.
  • Benefactors and heirs agree that it’s up to the benefactor to initiate the conversation. Only 10% of benefactors and 6% of heirs say it’s up to the child.
  • Estate planning is about more than just inheritance: 60% of benefactors said they preferred transferring wealth while they are alive.

UBS Investor Watch is a quarterly survey that tracks and analyzes investor sentiment. For this edition, we surveyed 2,474 individuals with a minimum of $250,000 in investable assets. For complete results, view the interactive report or download the full report (PDF, 830 KB). Then, talk to your Financial Advisor to see how these insights can help you address your family’s estate planning needs.