The Inheritance Conundrum
By Simon Voisin, Forward Group Limited
I read recently that Daniel Craig thinks inheritance distasteful. But what of showing your children a certain life then casting them adrift? I’m sure that Mr Craig isn’t going to leave them impoverished, but it is still a thoughtprovoking conundrum! Rod Stewart and Gordon Ramsey apparently both feel the same. Are they hollow words of those in the public eye or a real sentiment? I once heard someone say that they did not wish to burden their children with the family’s wealth.
Bill and Melinda Gates are acutely aware of the vast wealth they have created, and so came about “The Giving Pledge” and the Foundation they created. Bill Gates said, “We think that it’s a basic responsibility of anyone with a lot of money, once you’ve taken care of yourself and your children, the best use of extra wealth is to give it back to society.” I think Bill’s words are closer to reality, although Bill and Melinda’s reality is USD 105 billion and counting!
I have heard many platitudes about wealth and money during my career, including:
- Wealth buys a different kind of misery.
- It’s not what you wear, but how you wear it.
- She wears money well – in other words, you would never believe she or her family are fabulously wealthy.
A very wealthy client once said to me that he “didn’t want his children tearing up and down Knightsbridge in Ferraris when they turn 18” should anything happen to him or his wife. Instead, if the unthinkable happened to either or both whilst the children were young, they wanted them to gain an education to degree level – not necessarily medicine, law, or finance – just a degree; to work towards something, to strive, to be cultured, but to also be aware of the world around them.
For a period, a Trust seemed in some people’s eyes to just be about tax mitigation. Granted, with the use of a trust, in some cases savings can be achieved; and if they are fair and reasonable savings, why wouldn’t you, if you could? Of course, we are all now, more than ever, acutely aware of the need for private individuals and corporations to all pay their fair share to ensure that society works, that there is a health service available to all, and that help can be given in times of need to those that need it.
More and more, I am finding clients are not only concerned with preservation of wealth for future generations but that their children and grandchildren lead fulfilling lives and appreciate the fortunate situation they find themselves in.
It can be a burden having a highly successful parent or sibling, and after all, you can’t help what you are born into. However, with the right guidance and planning, you can help future generations wear the family wealth well and deploy that which they are born into for the greater and wider good.
That is where a trustee who grows with a family and is not just concerned with short-term corporate profit and uninterested in personal relationships, can be a comfort and of great assistance to families facing these dilemmas and challenges.
An impartial trustee that is independent and free of institutional ownership can form an integral part of a close circle of advisers helping a family navigate all of these issues and in turn give peace of mind that future generations will be cared for, whilst allowing families to concentrate on the present: be that the family business, charitable endeavours, impact investing, or just spending time together as a family.
Simon VoisinGGI member firm
Forward Group Limited
Fiduciary & Estate Planning
T: +44 1534 721420
Forward Group Limited is a regulated Trust and Company services business located in Jersey. Jersey is a top-tier, low-tax jurisdiction. Forward provides regulated corporate and trust services to a broad spectrum of clients, including listed companies and high-net-worth individuals.
Simon Voisin, Director with Forward Group, has over 30 years’ experience in providing professional fiduciary wealth management services to private and corporate clients. He has worked for both independent and institutional trust companies and was previously head of a single-family office.
Published: GGI Insider, No. 110, November 2020 l Photo: alagz - stock.adobe.com