Prepare Your Heirs to Receive, Protect and Grow Their Inheritance

A recent Forbes article indicated that a surprising 70% of an affluent family’s wealth is typically gone by the end of the second generation, and 90% is destroyed by the end of the third generation.

When we think of vast family wealth, most of us know the name Vanderbilt, the railroad and shipping scion of one of the wealthiest families in America in the 19th century. When he died in 1877, he left a fortune of $100 million — more than the U.S. Treasury held at the time.

That massive fortune — which would be more than $200 billion in today’s dollars — has been gone for over 40 years. It did not survive past three generations, primarily due to mismanagement of successive generations of heirs.

Frequently, the first generation through hard work and determination creates a fortune; the second generation enjoys the fortune; and the fortune is squandered by the third generation—with no role model to follow.  

The Forbes article suggests ways to prepare heirs for an inheritance, with an emphasis on protecting and growing that inheritance.

Here are some tips:

Share your vision.

Conduct a family roundtable where the heads of the family come together with everyone and share their hopes and dreams for the family, as well as how they plan to reach their goals for the future. The idea is to start an open multi-generational dialogue.

Tell your story.

To help younger generations understand the importance of protecting and growing inherited wealth, it helps if they first understand the values and visions of their predecessors. Sharing family memories, experiences and life lessons from older generations is a  key component to ensuring the family story continues on.

Record your story.

Your lasting legacy should be much more than just money; it should also be about those valuable intangibles that make your family unique, told through your insights, values and experience. We do this through our legacy planning process, helping you capture and pass on your own story and your aspirations for your loved ones through a special recording we produce for each of our clients.

Gather together.

Annual family retreats or gatherings around holidays also help solidify family values and nurture common goals. Consider holding an annual retreat where multiple generations can gather to make plans for the future and renew family harmony.

Call our office at 530-581-5455 to schedule a time for us to sit down and talk about a Family Wealth Planning Session, where we can identify the best ways for you to ensure your legacy of love and financial security for your family.


This article is a service of Jill Gregory Law, a Personal Family Lawyer® firm. We don’t just draft documents; we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love. That’s why we offer a Life and Legacy Planning Session™, during which you will get more financially organized than you’ve ever been before, and make all the best choices for the people you love. You can begin by clicking the button above or calling our office today at 949-514-8842 or 530-581-5455, to schedule a free 15 Minute Phone Consult with Jill Gregory, or a full Planning Session today. Mention this article to find out how to get this $750 Life and Legacy Planning Session at no charge.

The content is sourced from Personal Family Lawyer® for use by Personal Family Lawyer® firms, a source believed to be providing accurate information. This material was created for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as ERISA, tax, legal, or investment advice. If you are seeking legal advice specific to your needs, such advice services must be obtained on your own separate from this educational material.