That was the surprisingly deep question suddenly posed by a UBS client at one of our regular dinners. Until that moment, it had been a relatively routine conversation about wealth planning and succession. With this unexpected intervention, however, it became a passionate discussion and debate that lasted for more than two hours.
The question of what wealth is fundamentally for has no single answer, and will be a deeply personal matter for most individuals. Is wealth simply to be enjoyed by the people who have made it? Those with children and grandchildren will usually feel a sense of responsibility to their descendants. Setting them up in life, though, without taking away their drive and incentives for success, is a complicated task.
In this report, we are bringing together eight different case studies, which highlight some of the real challenges and dilemmas faced by different families when it comes to making plans for transferring wealth to the next generation. No two situations are the same, but you may recognise elements of each in your own story.
Among the questions we consider are what happens when a husband and wife don’t agree, how to cope with ever-more complicated family structures, how to involve future generations themselves in the planning process and the eternal quandary of how to be fair to siblings with very different interests and skills.
There can be no right or wrong answers to such difficult questions, even though the financial solutions themselves may be relatively straightforward. UBS, in these cases, has been the facilitator of conversations about what are often very emotional and even life-defining themes.
Our advice and counsel is shaped by our experience of working over many years with individuals and families who have faced similar challenges. By sharing these stories, others may find useful insights and perhaps even some inspiration.
What’s it all for? That is indeed a tough question. I hope we can help to guide you carefully towards the right answer for you and your family.