Rich 'don't trust children' on inheritance

by Sarah Ashcroft

Rich people who make a will are more likely to cut their children out of their inheritance, a new survey suggests. The study from Barclays Wealth indicates not only a reluctance among high net worth individuals to simply leave their money to their descendents, but also a general feeling of distrust over the next generation's ability to protect the estate.

A third of people defined as wealthy (35 per cent) do not trust their children or stepchildren to be responsible guardians of their inheritance, while 40 per cent have experienced family conflict as a result of their wealth.

Of all those surveyed, 29 per cent of wealthy people believe that inheritance places an "unnecessary burden" on the next generation. The report also found that 70 per cent of respondents believe that when it comes to wealth transfer, assets should be divided equally amongst their children, highlighting the importance of making a will.

In the UK, five per cent of people with between £1 million and £2 million in assets have disinherited someone or cut a family member out of their wills. The figure increases to 13 per cent among those with more than £10 million.

Catherine Grum from Barclays Wealth, commented: "It is surprising just how many wealthy respondents report experiencing such conflict and the impact that source of wealth can have on this, with wealthier respondents more likely to have encountered such conflict."

Making a last will and testament can prove vital in preventing disputes arising after death. People dying without a will leave themselves open to the UK's "arbitrary" intestacy laws, according to's Robert Powell. "By writing a will you can ensure that any particularly deserving or needy relatives and friends are looked after when you die – and anyone who you feel you do not want to leave anything to, gets nothing," he explained.

Published on: November 22, 2011

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