A new and unfortunate statistic confirms what we all intuitively suspected. According to research out of The Williams Group, 70% of all wealth transfers fail. As reported by Forbes here, the failure is not that the money doesn’t get passed down; it is that the family inheritance quickly dissolves in a flash of poor planning, bickering, and waste. How can that be? The research found that the successful 30% had all actively engaged in transition planning, in addition to simple inheritance planning. In a very real sense, all proper estate planning is about both planning for the inheritance and planning for the inheritors. After all, the inheritors are why you want to pass on your assets in the first place. Naturally, then, transition planning is all about bringing the inheritors into the fold and allowing them to learn how to run it. If you have a family business, then this is of the utmost importance. Why? Because for it to remain a “family business” the family has to know about the business, how to run it, and how to think about it. To be successful, hands-on training is required. But then again, aside from a family business asset, there is still a great deal of work to be done to help inheritors properly understand wealth and investments. Likewise, hands-on training in the family wealth, perhaps beginning in philanthropy, can make all the difference. In the end, to overcome the odds against the successful transfer of your family wealth, work together to form a plan, to understand it, and to put it into action.
Reference: Forbes (December 9, 2011) “Wealth Transfers: How To Reverse the 70% Failure Rate”