High net worth families face wealth transfer decisions

Author: Charles Gowlland, James Kirk (

Categories: Family Business, Family companies, Leadership
Tags: family meeting, passing on wealth, training
High net worth families will have to make the decision of when is the best time to involve the younger generations and transfer wealth to them, as Charles Gowlland discusses in this TV show.

High net worth family responsibilities

I think our experience has shown us that there are no rights or wrongs, every family is different, clearly one can see the problems about handing over wealth too early, but equally there are problems about handing it over too late as well, and it is for a combination of the advisors and the family to decide what the best policy is and that policy will often differ within individuals members of the family as well. So the process needs to be relatively flexible. Our survey demonstrated this, if there was a consensus around the subject it was probably that the most important thing was for the younger generation to be involved fairly early, and I mean certainly much earlier than perhaps their parents in turn had started to be involved. So that might be inviting them to be part of the family meeting for example, not the whole thing probably, but from a relatively early stage, to let’s say a part of it, to give them an insight. And then over time building up that knowledge. Building up the knowledge within a family business or getting them some outside experience in the commercial world or within the same industry or getting a professional qualification like accountancy or law, all of those sorts of things were thought to be very useful. But as I say if there was a consensus it was probably that the thirties was the right age to hand it on. And in particular if children appeared, all of a sudden as any parent will know, the mind set changes and suddenly you begin to become more conscious of your own duties and responsibilities and so again the appearance of children was thought to be quite an important aspect.

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