“We have found a significant dichotomy between clients we talk with, who tell us that intergenerational wealth transfer is the single most important issue on their minds, and a large segment of high net worth population we surveyed, who are not taking action and therefore leaving the legacy of their life’s work to chance.” – Keith Banks, President, US Trust
If you are a Baby Boomer who has worked hard, accumulated significant assets, support charitable causes, and plan to continue working through “retirement,” you are not alone! And you won’t be particularly surprised by the findings of a recently released survey by US Trust: Insights on Wealth and Worth. The survey was conducted earlier this year, with 457 high net worth and ultra high net worth individuals, with $3 million or more in investable assets. The survey found a distinct generational mindset among the wealthy – many of whom are Baby Boomers, self-made, first generation wealthy who achieved financial success on their own.
You are probably familiar with some of these insights found by the survey:
- Nearly half of these wealthy individuals plan to continue working in “retirement,” many starting a second career or new business.
- Many also want to be able to travel – remember my post last week about “going mobile” with your business, perhaps even into retirement?
- Many wealthy Americans want to give back to their communities and support charitable causes, and they may need professional legal advice to fulfill those ideals.
- Few have the type of comprehensive estate planning in place that matches the complexity of their estate, their finances and their estate planning goals.
That last insight, about few people having the type of comprehensive estate planning they really need, may come as a surprise to you – or even to US Trust – but not to me. I see this in my practice every day. Just because you have a simple will in place, or believe the federal estate tax will not affect you, does not mean you have adequate met your estate planning needs. Some common “gaps” that turned up in the US Trust survey include:
- No living will or health care directive
- No durable financial power of attorney
- No revocable living trust
- Inadequate planning for life insurance
- No charitable planning, despite charitable intent
- No written plan for the distribution of personal property
- No business succession plan, in fact only three percent of business owners had a business succession plan in place
If you saw yourself in the first paragraphs of this post, you likely saw yourself again in the last few. If you don’t take action, then you are, as US Trust President Keith Banks said, “leaving the legacy of (your) life’s work to chance.”
You can download the full survey report from the US Trust website.