August 31st, 2021
In a recent article titled, 17 Celebs Who Won’t Leave Their Kids An Inheritance, celebs like Bill Gates, Jackie Chan, Sting, Marie Osmond, and Laurene Powell Jobs all said they will not leave an inheritance for their children.
“It’s not a favor to kids to have them have huge sums of wealth. It distorts anything they might do, creating their own path.” Bill Gates
“If he is capable, he can make his own money. If he is not, then he will just be wasting my money.” Jackie Chan
“I inherited my wealth from my husband, who didn’t care about the accumulation of wealth. I’m not interested in legacy wealth buildings, and my children know that. If I live long enough, it ends with me.” Laurene Powell Jobs
COME ON, REALLY?
For the past two decades my team has been serving VERY financially successful families and not one didn’t plan to leave their loved one’s an inheritance of sorts (and in some cases, it was referred to as a “safety net”). It is very true that almost everyone one of the wealth creators we have worked with wrestle deeply with how much and when to transfer/gift financial wealth to their loved ones. And in many cases, their plans are to leave much more to charity than their loves ones for all the concerns referenced by the celebs in this article.
I greatly appreciate the sentiment of this article because wealth creators should think hard, pray and seek guidance regarding how best, if at all, they should structure the transferring or gifting of their financial wealth to their loved ones. And the Legacy Capitals’ team has spent countless hours helping our clients come to their own personal decisions based on their values and the readiness of their rising generation.
But I think this article is a bit misleading in that I wonder if the celebs who don’t plan to leave an inheritance, did they pay for their children’s private schools, expensive vacations, first home, invest in their businesses, and/or provide income off a trust.
For example, Bill and Melinda Gates buy daughter $5M apartment.
So maybe, just maybe these celebs don’t plan to leave an inheritance, but what might be the impact of providing a luxurious life and lifestyle while they are alive and then when they are no longer on this side of heaven say, “good luck, it’s now up to you with no more money from us.” This is like pulling the financial rug out from under their feet.
I am 100% behind whatever a celeb/parent wants to do with their money, I am just saying the decision to gift or transfer wealth is much more of a sophisticated decision, rather than an all or nothing choice (see chapters 3-5 in my LEGACY book) or that it only happens upon ones death.
Here are some initial questions to consider as one decides whether or not, and how much, should be gifted or transferred to loved ones:
- What is the ultimate purpose of our financial wealth?
- How have we prepared our loved ones for the opportunities and responsibilities of wealth?
- Do we know our loved ones signature strengths, interests, and goals?
- Have we fully integrated our loved ones in our family philanthropy before giving them access to significant wealth?
- What is the potential impact on our loved ones if we gifted them ____ or transferred ___ when we pass?
- If we don’t plan on leaving them an inheritance, will we, or how will we, explain the rationale for this?
- If we do plan to transfer wealth, do we have a letter of wishes written and added to our estate plan?
If you would like to work through these questions for yourself or know a family who would benefit from this type of thinking and process, please send us a private message by clicking on this LINK.
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