Legacy Planning

What If I Don’t Want to Give My Kids My Assets?

Just because Warren Buffet wants billionaires to sign his giving pledge, doesn’t mean you have to.  However, not everyone wants to leave everything to their kids.

There are many reasons why some parents simply don’t want to give all, or a large portion of their assets to their children. Type “A” personality parents who made every sacrifice to grow their wealth, may be disappointed with kids who aren’t at all motivated. A family may also be fragmented by politics, or disappointed in their children’s selection of partners.

25204256865_58d1892fa3_oAmerica is about to see a massive transfer of wealth from baby boomers, who’ve stockpiled an estimated $30 trillion. The “Me Generation” will probably spend some of its fortune, but there’ll be a lot remaining to pass along to their heirs. Research shows that between 2031 and 2045, as much as 10% of U.S. wealth could change hands every five years.

Think Advisor’s recent article, “Who Leaves an Inheritance, Who Doesn't,” says that some people are more inclined to leave an inheritance than others. The reasons for doing so aren’t all intuitive.

In an effort to better understand what influences an individual’s intention to leave an inheritance, researchers at Kansas State University analyzed data from the 2016 Survey of Consumer Finances. The survey is given every three years by the Federal Reserve. It gathers data about U.S. household balance sheets, income, expenditures, key demographics and attitudes. After controlling for net worth, household income and other demographic characteristics, KSU used a binary logistic regression model to parse out the variables associated with the expectation of leaving an inheritance.

The results revealed the traits that are closely linked to leaving an inheritance and those that aren’t. They found that children aren’t a significant predictor of whether a person is likely to leave an inheritance. Likewise, owning cash-value life insurance or being a habitual saver doesn’t seem to play a role in an individual’s bequest rationale.

The top predictor most associated with passing on wealth is an individual’s own expectation of receiving an inheritance. The survey found that people who expected to receive an inheritance were nearly 16% more likely to leave money to their heirs. However, those who actually did receive an inheritance, were 7% more likely to want to do the same for their own family.

It is not a shock, but a second leading predictor is a person’s attitudes about leaving an inheritance to others. Those respondents who ranked this goal as important, are 9.5% more likely to expect to leave an inheritance, as opposed to those who said it wasn’t important.

One interesting note: people who own businesses place a high value on inheritances. Perhaps the same drive that fuels the acquisition of wealth to attain a luxurious retirement, also pushes individuals to want to provide for their families.

In the end, what families leave to their children is just as much about values, family lore and a sense of belonging, as the asset left for children and the grandchildren.

An estate planning attorney can help you create a plan that addresses the assets you’d like to leave for the family members, charitable giving, a plan to manage estate taxes and a means to pass along more intangible and meaningful assets, like values and principles.

Reference: Think Advisor (October 19, 2018) “Who Leaves an Inheritance, Who Doesn't”

Can an Estate Plan Become a Legacy Plan?

Creating a legacy might give you better odds of success.

The old saying that the first generation builds the business, the second generation struggles to maintain it and the third squanders everything, is sadly, statistically true. However, creating a legacy might give you better odds of success.

Bigstock-Extended-Family-Outside-Modern-13915094If you’ve been responsible and had an estate plan created, you are way ahead of most of your peers. You’ve planned for your family and your heirs with a will, powers of attorney, an advanced directive and likely created the appropriate trusts to hold life insurance policies to minimize estate taxes and protect the proceeds from creditors. You may have even done some succession planning, using family trusts and other planning vehicles. However, will this be enough for a lasting legacy?

Forbes’ recent article, “How To Turn Your Estate Plan Into A Legacy Plan,” says that perhaps you’ve heard that legacy planning is the solution to your problem.  However, you are worried about the expense. If you create a legacy plan, does it mean you’ve wasted time and money? No, it doesn’t. The documents you’ve already prepared for estate planning can most likely be used and incorporated into a more effective legacy plan. Let’s look at how to turn an estate plan into a legacy plan.

Form A Legacy Team. This effort takes a team. You need a team of professional advisors working together to move you towards success. A legacy team will typically begin with three main areas of expertise: legal (estate planning attorney), tax (accountant) and wealth/financial planning (wealth advisor). From there, the legacy team may expand, based on your needs and circumstances. Your team’s makeup will depend on you and your family’s specific needs and circumstances.

Get A Legacy Mindset. Think “process” versus “plan.” Traditional estate planning is often seen as complete, once estate planning documents have been prepared and signed. However, the reality is that after you’ve created legal entities and a structure for your estate and/or legacy, you’re just at the start of the process. The legacy plan is a recipe for your success and the framework through which your legacy is going to thrive and grow.

Educate Yourself on What You’ve Already Created. With your legacy team in place and with your legacy mindset, understand what your existing estate plan does and doesn’t do. Review your estate plan and determine if it distinguishes between legacy and non-legacy assets (which almost always should be handled differently on your death). You also need to plan for your life and how to build the legacy you ultimately want to leave behind through specific assets in your estate.

Put the Plan into Action. Creating the plan is the first step, the second is implementing the plan. That will ensure that your legacy will continue, ideally for generations to come.

Reference: Forbes (August 22, 2018)“How To Turn Your Estate Plan Into A Legacy Plan”