Many financially successful, high net worth individuals engage an advisor to help answer important questions around protecting and transferring their wealth to their children and future generations. But it's also important to prepare the family for the money, not just the money for the family.

In thinking about preparing their children for the money they will inherit, wealthy parents often ask the same questions:


How Much is Enough?

While assigning a dollar value to this question may be impossible, families who define their wealth and make decisions about it can improve the chances that their financial legacy will be preserved.


When Should You Tell Your Children About Their Inheritance?

Parents worry that if they tell their children too early, they risk creating a sense of entitlement. But waiting too long may mean missing a chance to prepare the children for the responsibility that comes with their inheritance.


How Can You Ensure Your Children Act Responsibly?

Many wealthy parents fear that their children won't inherit their values along with their money, and worry that the great wealth they've built will be squandered quickly once it's passed on.

“Financial capital may be the easiest to define, but the most challenging to discuss.”
Preparing the money for the kids and the kids for the money are two sides of the same coin
Define wealth differently

Families who successfully pass their wealth on to the next generation tend to have a broad definition of wealth, taking into account both financial and non-financial factors.

Write a family mission statement

Work with your family to draft a document that explains how family values contributed to the creation of the wealth, how it is invested and how it's been used philanthropically.

Use horizontal decision-making

Include children early on in the making of some basic financial decisions, such as investing funds for an upcoming family vacation, and don't hide your decision-making process from them.

  • 1 Linda A. Jacobsen and Mark Mather, “U.S. Economic and Social Trends Since 2000," Population Bulletin 65, no. 1 (2010).

    2 According to studies by Paul Schervish, director of the Center on Wealth and Philanthropy at Boston College.

  • This material is provided for illustrative/educational purposes only. This material is not intended to constitute legal, tax, investment or financial advice and may not be used as such. Effort has been made to assure that the material presented herein is accurate at the time of publication. However, this material is not intended to be a full and exhaustive explanation of the law in any area or of all of the tax, investment or financial options available. You should consult your lawyer or your tax professional, or your investment or financial advisor if you want professional assurance that this material, and your interpretation of it, is accurate and appropriate for your unique situation. © 2016 The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation. All rights reserved.