There was a time when upon death, it was expected that the assets of the deceased would be left to their spouse or children. While some people of course do still take this course of action, as the makeup of families has changed, so too has how people disburse their assets.
According to UBS Wealth Management Americas, currently, about 34 percent of high-net-worth investors are made up of:
- Blended families
- Same-sex families
- Multi-generational families
The survey from which this information was obtained also found that with each passing generation, the number of “traditional” families—defined as a heterosexual couple who have children—is decreasing. These changes make it more difficult to invest and, when the time comes, distribute assets.
Where the disbursement of assets is concerned, this often happens upon death via a will. While deciding how assets will be distributed can be difficult in any situation, things often become more complicated where blended, same-sex and multi-generation families are concerned. If not done in a well thought out and thorough manner, the needs of beneficiaries may not be addressed and heirs could end up with hurt feelings or even feuding with each other.
To help prevent these situations from occurring, as is the case in virtually any estate planning scenario, transparency is important. To that end, it is becoming more and more common for generations of a family to come together and discuss their philosophies regarding their finances as well as their financial needs.
Of course assistance from professionals in the field is also important. Among others, an estate planning lawyer can help to make sure the goals of the person creating an estate plan are properly articulated.