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Family inheritance talks make some millionaires nervous


Sooner or later the subject of inheritance comes up in wealthy families. Parents become concerned about how inheriting large sums of money affect their children. A sit-down family discussion is not always the best way forward, and some wealthy parents get the point across to their children using more creative means.

An uncomfortable chat

In a poll conducted by Wilmington Trust, founded by the DuPont family and is part of M&T Bank, two out of three wealthy respondents admitted that they were uncomfortable with discussions of inheritance matters. For one thing, they do not know when the best time is to broach such a discussion. Also, a major concern is that telling children how much money they stand to inherit will kill their ambition in terms of career goals.

Some respondents were waiting for their children or grandchildren to get older, but one in five stated that they were putting off an inheritance discussion because they did not yet know how much they were going to leave to their heirs.

Five percent of the respondents felt that a discussion with heirs was not in the offing because inheritance matters were none of their business.

A stroll into the past

To illustrate the meaning of money and how to manage it, one multimillionaire took his grandchildren to the old homestead in the Midwest and introduced them to his own parents' humble beginnings. His goal was to show the importance of hard work and the value of taking nothing for granted.

Meeting the attorney

After his children turn 18, another multimillionaire plans on introducing them to his attorney for a discussion about estate planning. He feels that this is one way to prepare kids for adulthood and the family responsibilities they will one day have.

Looking ahead

Most wealthy people have made their own way in the world, and their hope is that their offspring follows suit. Some may gather the family for a serious talk about wealth and what individual heirs can expect to receive once the parent is gone. However, other parents trade uncomfortable discussions for more creative methods of preparing an heir for a fulfilling future beyond money.

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