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7 Reasons Investors Avoid Wealth Transfer Planning

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Over the next two decades, the biggest transfer of wealth in history is expected to take place. According to UBS, in the U.S. alone, $84 trillion is expected to pass down to younger generations.

In a survey of 4,500 high-net-worth investors in 14 markets, respondents said they want to minimize the financial and familial discord often attendant on wealth transfer. Three-quarters of investors — particularly those in the U.S. — said they want the inheritance process to go smoothly.

Yet UBS’ latest Investor Watch found that about 40% of investors globally do not have an up-to-date will or wealth transfer plan.

“While investors overwhelmingly want the inheritance process to go smoothly, inadequate inheritance planning can be costly and could lead to unresolved family conflict,” Iqbal Khan, co-president of global wealth management and president of Europe, Middle East and Africa at UBS, said in a statement.

“Every family has different values and should be supported by a team of professionals who can help them develop a personalized strategy to preserve what is most important to them.”

Notwithstanding obstacles and the fact that wealth transfer can be complicated, both benefactors and inheritors in the survey agreed on how to break down barriers. Most important is more open, ongoing and purposeful communication. Six in 10 investors said parents should initiate the inheritance conversation.

Investors also emphasized the importance of having a written plan, professional assistance and insight into how other families approach estate planning.

See the gallery for seven reasons investors fail to proactively address estate planning.