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Advisers on their role in intergenerational wealth transfers

This article is part of
Guide to retaining intergenerational wealth

“The composition of each client team is reviewed internally every year so if, for example, the client is increasingly involving their children, we can adapt accordingly.”

With teams built around clients, Morrell says the client-to-adviser ratio is also intentionally kept low, so that advisers can get to know the client and their family well and anticipate their needs.

“We also ensure that our teams are as diverse as possible, with a balance of youth and experience. It is vital that the younger generation has someone in the team that they can identify with, and avoid feeling like they are ‘stuck’ with their parents’ adviser.”

An educational foundation

Advisers at Rothschild & Co will often also help to educate the adult children of clients, says Morrell, so they are prepared to handle their impending inheritance.

“We have facilitated small events covering family constitutions and made introductions to others who have navigated similar issues, including members of the Rothschild family.

“We have attended meetings where adult children have been told about their inheritance, taking the role of a friendly aunt or uncle in helping with spending plans – removing parents from difficult conversations, but giving both generations confidence.

“And we have conducted investment reviews without monetary figures, so the next generation can gain understanding without compromising privacy.”

David Batchelor, principal at Wills & Trusts Wealth Management, adopts a similar approach. His business runs an annual series of workshops for clients’ children on ‘how to inherit’ and what preparation they need to do when their parents pass.

“Our experience is that when clients pass away, we virtually are always involved in at least the probate work, but more often than not we’ll end up working with the children because we already have an existing relationship with them.

“For a firm or an adviser to build that relationship, they have to involve the children in estate planning. There’s no point in just doing an estate plan with the parents, and then hoping that the information will pass correctly down to the children.

“It’s always been my practice, wherever possible, to involve children in that planning, so they understand what’s involved.”

Chloe Cheung is a features writer at FTAdviser