Have you ever thought about who you want to inherit your wealth? Your kids, right? Seems like a no-brainer, and for many families it might be but for some the decision is much more difficult than that. When we talk about wealth and passing assets onto the next generation this can be a complex subject. Some people believe that everything should be left to their children. Others believe that they worked hard for all of their money and they want their kids to do the same. Mix in charitable gifting and complex family situations and all of a sudden you have some difficult decisions ahead of you.
Let’s start with the basics – family. As mentioned above, some families are very straightforward. Mom and Dad have a couple of kids, and choose to split the assets evenly between each of those children. However other families might not be quite that simple. Whether there are grandkids in the mix, divorces or individuals who can’t make financial decisions on their own, that’s where things become a little more complex. The key here is discussing your values and wishes with your family, and drawing up legal documents for your specific situation, more commonly in the form of a Trust. Within the trust you can decide which assets go to which individual, any stipulations for the assets, and specific guidelines for the Trustee’s who will be responsible for safeguarding the money.
What about if you don’t have much family, or aren’t close with them? That’s when we often see clients turn to charities that are important to them. This can vary from health-related charities to faith-based organizations to educational institutions. The choice really is yours, and highly depends on what means the most to you and where you believe you can make an impact.
And of course, there’s a combination of the two. In this scenario some of your assets would go to your loved ones, and the rest would pass on to a charitable organization. There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to you deciding who should inherit your assets. But there are ways to structure your assets so that when that time comes, your wishes are clear and the State isn’t deciding for you in Probate court. Work with an attorney to get your estate plan in place, and with a wealth advisor to put your plan into practice, then review it once a year and make sure that everything is up to date and there are no amendments to be made.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.