Planning to preserve family wealth

Georgia residents who want to preserve their family wealth for their future beneficiaries may not be aware of some somber statistics. By the second generation, 70 percent of family wealth has dissipated while by the third generation, 90 percent has been lost. A wealth transfer plan may prevent this from happening.

Families lose their wealth for several fairly predictable and consistent reasons. Heirs may be unprepared to receive an inheritance and respond by quitting their job or spending all the money irresponsibly. They might lack experience in tax planning and investments, or family disputes could create problems. One aspect of a wealth transfer plan involves discussing the estate planning documents with loved ones and helping to prepare them. This could mean introducing the heirs to financial planners or attorneys who can help them manage the money. This also gives the family the opportunity to discuss any conflicts rather than arguing about the estate after a person's death.

People can also discuss how that wealth will be passed down such as using trusts or direct gifts. They can also work with family members to teach them about investing and even help them with estate planning documents of their own to ensure that the wealth is protected in the next generation.

Whether or not people have wealth they hope to preserve across generations or simply want to ensure that beneficiaries get the assets they want to leave them, creating an estate plan is an important step for all adults. An attorney may be able to assist whether a simple will is needed or a more complex set of documents. Some people may also be unaware of the range of options available to them. For example, trusts can be useful in many different situations and not just for high-income families.

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