Most wealthy Americans are hesitant to leave large inheritances with their children.
The Motley Fool surveyed 2,000 American adults with net worths over $1 million; although 76% of high net worth individuals plan to leave inheritances, as many as 68% plan to have money accessible only after heirs meet specific conditions.
For example, Shark Tank entrepreneur Kevin O’Leary “designed a trust that skips his adult children and will support his grandchildren until they graduate from college” — a design that over 60% of individuals surveyed by The Motley Fool considered.
The company further explains:
High-net-worth individuals can structure their inheritances to mitigate concerns about a large inheritance being mismanaged or leading their children to become lazy. Popular approaches include incentive trusts that set conditions to access bequeathed assets, like maintaining good grades or volunteering at a charity.
With Baby Boomers aging and holding $30 trillion to $40 trillion worth of assets, it’s hard to overstate the importance of how high-net-worth individuals are approaching inheritances.
When asked about why they are concerned about leaving large inheritances, 59% of respondents said that the assets may be used irresponsibly. Meanwhile, 57% believe that their heirs would not be prepared to manage a large inheritance; 56% believe that assets would be better used elsewhere, such as for charity; 56% also believe that leaving too much would cause beneficiaries to be lazy.
Almost two-thirds of respondents have considered a “generation-skipping inheritance” — which would pass assets to “the grantor’s grandchildren or anyone at least 37.5 years younger than the grantor who is not a spouse or ex-spouse.” Such arrangements “dodge estate taxes that would otherwise be applied if assets were passed to the grantor’s children” and “mitigate concerns about leaving too large an inheritance by specifying that assets be spread over multiple generations.”
“What’s clear is that high net worth individuals are concerned about the effects of leaving too large an inheritance,” Motley Fool research analyst Jack Caporal commented to CNBC. “They are aware of and actively considering leaving inheritances with conditions that incentivize their heirs to pick up on values that they think are important, such as hard work, doing well in school and finding a good career track.”
“The results and their responses were definitely guided by their own experiences, which is interesting because you get a sense from them that these were not unfounded concerns, but that they relate to their own experiences having inherited a lot of wealth,” he added.