Majority of Wealthy Families Unprepared for Wealth Transfer: SEI Survey

Survey finds disconnect between wealth priorities and wealth planning

While wealthy families agree that their wealth is a “catalyst for family success,” many don’t have a plan or strategy in place to transfer their wealth to future generations, according to a recent SEI survey. Less than half of those surveyed (46%) said they have a wealth transfer strategy or plan in place, while more than a third (38%) said they have prepared a will and nothing else.

According to SEI, the findings point to a growing disconnect between wealth priorities and wealth planning in high-net-worth families–one that experts believe is becoming a barrier to future generations’ ability to sustain long-term wealth.

The survey suggests that there is a lack of focus on or desire to create wealth transfer plans among wealthy families, despite clear future intentions for their wealth. The company says the overwhelming majority of those polled (80%) said they expect to pass on their wealth to direct family members, and nearly all of those polled (97%) said they believe the future generation has the ability to continue creating wealth and improving the lives of their families. And yet, families with plans to transfer that wealth remain in the minority.”

“A wealth transfer plan is crucial to a family’s ability to sustain wealth long-term and yet many wealthy families don’t have one,” Michael Farrell, managing director for the SEI Wealth Network, said.  “We see this as part of a larger disconnect in financial communication in wealthy families. When there’s less talk about financial issues, it just stands to reason that there’s less formal planning–and that’s got to change if families hope to preserve and grow wealth for future generations.”

The survey results suggest that while most wealthy families know to whom they are going to leave their money, there remains a lack of widespread planning to formalize the successful transfer of that wealth.

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