A recent survey compiled by UBS highlights the differences in the American family structure of today compared to past generations, and how those differences may affect a family's estate planning.
According to the survey, 34 percent of all high-net-worth investors live in modern families and 35 percent live in traditional families. However, nearly two-thirds of those who participated in the survey felt that financial advice is targeted to only traditional families.
The survey classified a modern family as one consisting of same-sex couples, one in which children were living in the home from prior relationships, or a home with parents and adult children living together.
There were 2,715 high-net-worth and affluent investors who participated in the survey. Of those who participated, 1,787 had a minimum of $1 million in investable assets, with slightly more than 400 members of that group having at least $5 million in investable assets.
Fourteen percent of survey participants lived in blended families. More than half of those families noted that their lives are more complicated than those in traditional families, with issues surrounding finances and retirement planning.
Members of blended families cited additional issues—more than 40 percent expressed that they did not accurately anticipate the financial costs of supporting their spouses' children. Sixty percent indicated that those children had not fully accepted them, despite the fact they were helping to support them. These issues parlayed into difficulties when trying to decide asset division upon a person’s death—almost 70 percent surveyed said they had not been able to decide how asset division would be handled, compared to only half of those traditional family members who were surveyed.
Same-sex couples who participated in the survey pointed to the recent Supreme Court decision which legalizes same-sex marriage as a positive move towards estate planning for same-sex couples. However, more than half those surveyed also stated that there was a lack of financial planning information for same-sex families. Additionally, more than 70 percent said they are pursing financial advice on how the new law will impact retirement and health benefits.
The third type of family surveyed—those with adult children and aging parents—also expressed different financial concerns than those experienced by traditional families. Many of these aging parents—53 percent—are concerned that they will not be able to reach and maintain financial security without the extra financial support of their adult children, especially when it concerns health care benefits.
If you have questions or concerns about future estate planning needs, please speak an experienced DuPage County estate planning attorney. Call Stock, Carlson, Flynn & McGrath, LLC today at 630-665-2500.