Welcome to Straight Talk. We at Legacy Legal and Family Legacy Trainings appreciate your enjoyment of our weekly insights on Living Wealth and Legacy.

In this edition we will summarize some of the latest trends in Living Wealth and Legacy as compiled by U.S. Trust. One of the unique features of this survey was that it looked at differences and similarities across three generations of American wealth: baby boomers (ages 47 to 66), the WWII generation before them (67 and older) and Generations X and Y (18 to 46).

Some general principles that emerged from the survey included:

1. “Our survey points to a shift in generational behavior and outlook, most likely shaped by personal experience and societal responses to economic realities,” “The next generation has not experienced the consistently strong economic growth or investment returns that baby boomers experienced during the longest bull market in history.”

2. Gen Xers and Gen Yers were aligned with the WWII generation in their focus on the needs of the family and the continuity of family wealth.

3. The survey found the youngest generation pragmatic, proactive and disciplined in their approach to investing and wealth management, surpassing baby boomers in planning for wealth for themselves and their families.


1. 76% of Gen Xers and Gen Yers and 73% of the WWII generation said it was important to leave a financial inheritance to their children as a way to preserve the continuity of family wealth and to influence their children’s lives after they are gone. By comparison, only 55% of baby boomers thought it was important to leave a financial inheritance to their children. Among those who did not think it was important, 31% said they would rather leave money to charity than to their children.

2. 40% of Gen Xers and Gen Yers had set up a financial plan for their parents’ elder care
needs, versus 20% of baby boomers who had done so.

3. 33% of Gen Xers and Gen Yers, compared with only 6% of baby boomers, had bought long-term care insurance for their parents.

Financially Empowering Children

4. Nearly two-thirds of wealthy parents were not fully confident their children would be well-prepared to handle any financial inheritance left to them, with baby boomers having the least confidence.

5. Only 37% of wealthy parents had fully disclosed their family’s level of wealth to their children, and 51% had disclosed only a little. Respondents over the age of 67 who had not fully disclosed their wealth said the primary reason was that they had been taught never to discuss wealth with anyone.

6. Baby boomers and the younger generation were aligned in being more comfortable talking about wealth. However, most either had not gotten around to it or were concerned that it would negatively affect their children’s work ethic.

Estate planning and intergenerational wealth transfer

7. Although most respondents said they had a basic estate plan, including a will, a healthcare proxy/living will and a power of attorney, only 51% had a revocable trust and only 22% had an irrevocable trust. The youngest generation, in particular, underutilized trusts.

8. When asked why they have not established a trust, respondents exhibited widespread misunderstanding and lack of professional advice:

a. 43% believed that because their wishes had been outlined in a will there was no need for a trust;

b. 31% cited procrastination

c. 17% said they did not have enough money to warrant having a trust

d. 17% purported not to know what the benefits of having a trust were.

9. Despite considerable resources, nearly 6 in 10 respondents overall did not have a comprehensive estate plan.

Approaches to growing wealth

10. Respondents continued to be cautiously optimistic about the management of their investment portfolio. Most described themselves as independent, opportunistic and smart when making investment decisions, although 23% of the youngest generation of investors described themselves as “exhilarated.”

Protecting family privacy and security

11. The U.S. Trust survey found that privacy and security, an emerging area of wealth management, varied significantly by age and experience. Those in the younger, technologically savvy generation were more apt to have taken actions to protect themselves, their finances and personal and physical safety. However, respondents exhibited a generally low level of proactive activity to protect family privacy and security compared with the level of concern.

Estate Planning Attorneys: We are experts in creating lasting wealth and our vision is for families to be financially self sufficient. Our mission is to build, protect and preserve wealth and legacy for generations. To do these things we need to have business prosperity, good financial foundations, a tax fortress and personal power.

Thank you for being a part of our Straight Talk community. We educate, transform and inspire business owners and families in enhancing the way they think and talk about wealth in money, values, beliefs and traditions. By Uniting, Aligning and Nurturing your common purpose and vision you can protect and preserve wealth for generations. What is your Legacy?

We welcome you to share your ideas and thoughts and Remember to register for the workshop. All family members may come for one admission price. Rich Gaines J.D., LL.M. Taxation – Estate Planning Attorney, California

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