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UBS Investor Watch: 4,500 HNW Investors on Wealth Transfer Plan, 50% of HNWs Withhold Transfer Plan from Heirs

5th November 2022 | Hong Kong

UBS Investor Watch has released a survey of 4,500 High Net Worth investors (HNWs, at least $1 million) in the United States, Latin America, Europe & Asia on their wealth transfer plan, providing key insights into how HNWs plan their wealth transfer, how they divide their assets, how heirs (beneficiaries) are involved in the wealth transfer plan, and how blended HNW families (eg. Remarry, stepchildren) & HNW clients with businesses are facing more difficulties in planning their wealth transfer.  In the UBS Investor Watch survey released, 42% of HNWs do not have updated will and 41% do not have a wealth transfer / estate plan.  50% of heirs (beneficiaries) do not know how much wealth they will be receiving and how the wealth are divided.   64% of heirs who are executors (estate administrators) have difficulty carrying out last wishes, and 34% of heirs have conflicts on the distributed assets.  Blended HNW families (eg. Remarry, stepchildren) and HNWs with businesses have more difficulties planning the transfer of wealth.  View key summary below | UBS Survey Report here

“ 50% of HNWs Withhold Transfer Plan from Heirs, 64% of heirs who are executors have difficulty carrying out last wishes,  34% of heirs have conflicts on the distributed assets “

 



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A Will (Last Will and Testament) is a legally prepared and bound document that states your intentions for the distribution of your assets & wealth after your death.

 

UBS Investor Watch: 4,500 HNW Investors on Wealth Transfer Plan

The World of Billionaires

Key Findings:

  • 42% of HNWs do not have updated will
  • 41% of HNWs do not have wealth transfer / estate plan
  • 50% of heirs (beneficiaries) do not know how much wealth they will be receiving and how the wealth are divided.
  • 64% of heirs who are executors (estate administrators) have difficulty carrying out last wishes
  • 34% of heirs have conflicts on the distributed assets
  • Certain heirs will inherit more: We have a closer relationship (80%), Different generations will receive different amounts (76%), I trust them more with money (75%)
  • Barriers to communication: Not a pressing issue, Do not want heirs to feel entitled or appear greedy, Do not talk opening about financial issues in the family
  • On Inheritance Planning: Have more open communication, Parents should bring up the topic, Formal wealth transfer / estate plan, Professional facilitate discussions, Learn how other families approach this topic
  • HNWs with no Children give more to Charitable causes (% Assets): Without Children (40%), With Children (30%)
  • HNWs with Business Transfer Plan: Sell or transfer to family members, Sell to another individual or company, Sell to employee, Exit the business completely, No current plan 
  • HNWs with Business Observations: How to divide assets fairly, Do not have estate plan, Have not set expectation on business transfer, Have not discuss family wealth with heirs

 

1) HNWs Transfer of Asset Concerns:

  • Smooth transfer – 76%
  • Tax-optimised – 71%
  • Heirs use inheritance wisely – 70%

2) HNWs Transfer of Asset Plan:

  • Do not have updated will – 42%
  • Do not have wealth transfer / estate plan – 41%

3) HNWs Withholding important information:

  1. My heirs don’t know how much wealth I have – 50%
  2. My heirs don’t know where all my wealth is – 49%
  3. My heirs don’t know how my wealth will be divided – 48%

4) HNWs Find Challenging to divide assets fairly:

  • Global – 66%
  • United States – 49%
  • Europe – 76%
  • APAC – 72%
  • Latin America – 78%

5) HNWs heirs will inherit more because:

  1. We have a closer relationship – 80%
  2. Different generations will receive different amounts – 76%
  3. I trust them more with money – 75%
  4. They have a greater economic need – 75%
  5. They took more responsibility caring for me – 74%
  6. They live in a way that more closely matches my values – 73%

6) Barriers to Wealth Transfer Discussion: (Benefactors vs Inheritors)

  • Not a pressing issue – 56% vs 45%
  • Do not want heirs to feel entitled or appear greedy – 49% vs 49%
  • Do not talk opening about financial issues in the family – 46% vs 52%
  • Depressing topic – 42% vs 45%
  • Not sure how to bring up – 35% vs 42%

7) Heirs Regrets – I wished I had discussed more with parents before they passed away

  • United States – 26%
  • Europe – 49%
  • APAC – 43%
  • Latin America – 47%

8) Family Conflicts:

  • Heirs who are executors (estate administrators) have difficulty carrying out last wishes – 64%
  • Conflicts among heirs on dividing assets – 34%
  • Unresolved issues (eg. who gets house) – 34%

9) On Inheritance Planning:

  1. Have more open communication – 61%
  2. Parents should bring up the topic – 61%
  3. Have a formal wealth transfer / estate plan – 59%
  4. Have a professional facilitate discussions – 50%
  5. Learn how other families approach this topic – 50%

10) Family Dynamics:

  • First / One marriage with children – 55%
  • Blended family (Eg. Remarry, stepchildren) – 19%
  • No children – 18%
  • Other (Widowed, Divorced, Single w children, No children) – 8%

11) Struggle to divide assets fairly:

  • Blended Families – 87%
  • Not Blended Families – 62%

12) HNWs with no Children give more to Charitable causes (% Assets):

  • Without Children – 40%
  • With Children – 30%

13) HNWs with Business – Wealth Transfer Plan:

  • Sell or transfer to family members – 47%
  • Sell to another individual or company – 26%
  • Sell to employee – 10%
  • Exit the business completely – 7%
  • No current plan – 8%

14) HNWs with Business – Observations:

  • How to divide assets fairly – 59%
  • Do not have estate plan – 42%
  • Have not set expectation on business transfer – 41%
  • Have not discuss family wealth with heirs – 36%

 

Iqbal Khan, UBS President Global Wealth Management and President Europe, Middle East, and Africa :

Iqbal Khan, President of UBS Global Wealth Management

“While investors overwhelmingly want the inheritance process to go smoothly, inadequate inheritance planning can be costly and could lead to unresolved family conflict.  Every family has different values and should be supported by a team of professionals who can help them develop a personalized strategy to preserve what is most important to them.” 

 

UBS Investor Watch Regional Findings:

UBS office in Kowloon, Hong Kong
  • Asia Pacific – Sixty eight percent of investors surveyed in Asia Pacific have concerns about transferring their wealth and want the process to go smoothly. Seventy two percent said it was challenging to divide their assets fairly. Among heirs, 43% wish they had discussed inheritance plans with their benefactors before they passed away and many who served as executors said carrying out their benefactor’s last wishes was difficult.
  • Latin America – Three quarters (76%) of investors in Latin America are concerned about the wealth transfer, with 78% percent finding it challenging to divide their assets fairly. Nearly half of heirs in the region regret not discussing inheritance plans with their benefactors before they passed.
  • Western Europe – Around three-quarters of investors in Western Europe and 80% of investors in the UK and France find it challenging to divide assets fairly, compared to the global average of 66%.
  • Switzerland – Compared with the global average of 66%, only 53% of Swiss investors surveyed struggle to divide assets fairly. Swiss investors face fewer barriers to communication. Seventy two percent say they speak openly about financial issues in the family with only 15% stating they’re not sure how broach the topic. Only 15% of heirs in Switzerland faced conflicts with other heirs and 22% said they had unresolved issues. Twenty five percent wish they had discussed inheritance plans with their benefactors before they passed.
  • United Arab Emirates – Investors in the United Arab Emirates have open conversations with their heirs about important financial information and heirs are aware of how much wealth they have (57%) and how their wealth will be divided (61%). However, a greater proportion of investors in the United Arab Emirates (91%) struggle to divide assets fairly and consider many factors when deciding how to divide their wealth among heirs.
  • United States – US investors are more prepared for the wealth transfer than other markets surveyed, but still more than one-quarter of US investors (28%) do not have a wealth transfer plan in place. Eight in 10 investors say they want the inheritance process to go smoothly, with nearly as many concerned about minimizing taxes (76%) and making sure that beneficiaries use their inheritance wisely (68%).



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