The pyramids of ancient Egypt are a lasting legacy to the Pharaohs, rulers who insisted on being buried with their wealth in the belief that these riches could be taken into an afterlife. Whilst some of their architectural legacy has survived the past four thousand years, attitudes towards what happens to wealth and succession have changed. Whilst we may still be concerned with the legacy we leave behind, most people now accept the adage “you can’t take it with you.” There remains the question of how to impart not only a legacy of financial stability to the next generation, but also values and guidance for a successful life.
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Planning for this transfer is a crucial step in the wealth management process, and is also one of the most important. Being able to provide for the financial needs of surviving relatives is a special kind of gift, but it can also be extremely challenging, not just because of the technical complexity of making appropriate arrangements, but also because of the hard choices about how to divide wealth.
There appear to be many factors that individuals take into consideration in succession planning, such as family and cultural expectations, the sacrifices and contributions that family members have made, and even with whom they best connect. Today, responsible succession planning also means thinking about the impact that inherited wealth will have on the lives of the recipients. Parents may worry whether their children will be good custodians of wealth, or spend it recklessly and lose their ambition or even their health. Guidance around these potential hurdles can help to ensure their personal happiness and success.
To shed some light on this area globally, Barclays surveyed 2,000 people from 20 countries, then drew on the collective wisdom of the experts in our Insights Panel to help interpret the results.
Our aims were to:
- Find out more about high net worth individuals’ views on the transfer of wealth, including the reservations they have about that transfer, and the negative factors that can be associated with this.
- Explore the importance of succession planning and financial legacies across the world, and understand what motivates people to think about making the necessary arrangements.
- Understand how wealthy individuals across the globe seek to divide wealth amongst their children and approach succession planning; and specifically understand how they use vehicles such as wills and trusts.
- Seek out the views of high net worth individuals on the challenges they believe are faced by the next generation and how that generation should best equip itself.