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Just half of Brits would split wealth equally among children

‘Where there’s a Will, there’s a war’ as brothers and sisters draw battle lines


Most people expect their parents to pass down an equal and fair share of their wealth when they die, to make sure that all of their children get the same.

But research by wealth management firm Charles Stanley found that, for many, this might not be the case.

Just over half (55%) of UK adults said they will divide their estate in equal measure among their children.

Whereas around 13% said they intend to do so but they would also want to take into consideration any financial support that they already gave to their offspring.

Of those who do not want to split their assets equally, the reasons for doing this are either to make their children financially equal, or to help the “least successful” child.

But, 37% of inheritors said they would be upset to find out they received less than their siblings; and around a quarter (24%) would not be concerned if this was to happen.

According to Charles Stanley, older demographics seem to be the more sensitive about being given an equal share. Nearly half (46%) of baby boomers – those aged 54-74 – said they would be upset, while 27% would feel “betrayed” by their parents if they received a lower sum than their siblings.

In comparison, this is true for 22% of millennials.

Legacy of conflict ‘can be avoided’

The wealth firm said that complications and sibling rivalries in inheritance matters could be solved by having open discussions between family members.

But the subject still remains a taboo.

Just one-in-five (21%) of UK adults said their family talks or has talked openly about how their inheritance will be divided so that everyone knows what to expect.

Worryingly, 15% of people said that their parents do not have or did not leave a Will.

As a result, children are taking matters in their own hands, as 39% said they have actively “done something” to try and boost their inheritance, or at least, intend to do so. This includes visiting their parents regularly (13%) or moving closer to where they live (7%).

Alex Price, director of financial planning at Charles Stanley, said: “Where there’s a Will, there’s a war. A lot of the issues that can arise could be diffused by simply being open about plans and talking with family members about the decision-making process.

“It’s not always easy to start those conversations as they can seem awkward and uncomfortable, but avoiding the subject is not the answer and could come at a price. Not only could families lose out financially by not planning ahead and taking advantage of legitimate inheritance tax exemptions, they could also be leaving a legacy of family conflict which could be avoided.”

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