We’re continually told that being a Grandparent is one of life’s most rewarding phases. Spending as much time with Grandchildren becomes a top priority for most.
However, structuring your estate can be a challenging process. We’ve seen many instances where Grandparents are not entirely sure if their children can handle, or indeed, need inheritance.
A solution may be to direct your inheritance to your Grandchildren – or gift money to them.
Your inheritance means beneficiaries may enjoy a more financially comfortable life that enables them to pursue passions and interests that they may not otherwise have had the time for.
On the negative side, without proper education and preparation, substantial inherited wealth can lead to entitlement, dependence, lack of motivation and poor self-esteem.
In some occasions, it can even be the forebear to eventual financial stress. The sons of Texas oil tycoon H. L. Hunt, whose fortune was once estimated at $8 billion, filed for bankruptcy protection in the USA in the 1980s.
As Grandparents, you can structure your inheritance so that it won’t create tax issues for you. In fact, your Grandchildren (or your own children for that matter) don’t have to know about these arrangements. You can always stipulate that the inheritance can only be provided to your Grandchildren once they reach a certain age.
It has become common for families to set age and possibly capability-related tests for access to their inheritance. The most common age at which next-generation members begin to inherit is 25, with the possibility of some kind of phased approach up to age 35 or beyond. By then, most children will have finished their education, have taken a few steps toward their career goals, may have been restricted to live within a budget based on their own after-tax earnings, and learned to plan accordingly before beginning to take on the benefits – and related responsibilities – of greater wealth.
It’s important, as Grandparent’s to understand that the risks (or investment options) that your Grandchildren might make with your inheritance or gift, will most likely be different to the ones you might make or consider.
Your Grandchildren might be considering longer term growth so they could use the inheritance (of gift) as a kick start to a deposit for a first home, to help with University or Private school fees, a first car or a wedding.
Inheritance or gifting plans for your Grandchildren can also be completed “behind the scenes”. Given there could be multiple Grandchildren, there are strategies to ensure funds are equally allocated to each Grandchildren.