Practice Management

Managing Wealth Transfers Across Generations

Now is the Time for a Wealth-Transfer Plan

Financial advisers today face a significant challenge: helping their clients move from avoidance to activity in planning for the transfer of their wealth—and retaining the assets when that wealth changes hands.

Our research uncovers why clients are hesitant to start planning to transfer wealth, whether that be to a spouse or to the next generation, and what advisers can do to engage their clients in planning for the future. 

Many clients put off thinking about wealth transfer plans until an emergency forces the conversation. But by then, it may be too late. Planning early allows time for:

  • Having a clear understanding of client objectives and family values to personalise the plan
  • Building a relationship with the rest of the family by including them up front
  • Developing financial literacy in the next generations, to ensure that the family is prepared to receive the inheritance.

What’s at stake?

Continuity of assets is at risk if these critical conversations don’t happen, or the adviser fails to build a relationship with the rest of the family. 


Already inherited by the Baby Boomer generation 1

$30T +

Expected to transfer from Baby Boomers to Gen X and Millennials from 2011 to 2048 2, 3


Projected to change hands when expanding the timeframe from 2007 to 2061 4

What can you do?

This is a business-building opportunity. A conversation about planning for a family’s future can be a natural pathway to engage the next generation.

Advisors can help their clients begin to prepare for wealth transfer with these easy steps:

  • Create a family values roadmap to define the family’s core values – and how family wealth factors into those values. 
  • Conduct a Financial Literacy Assessment to help determine the baseline of financial understanding that each family member possesses.
  • Provide additional resources to help clients build their family’s collective financial knowledge – from raising financially intelligent children, to saving for college, to retirement and estate planning.

Hear from your peers

When money is in motion, there are three factors that differentiate top advisors—service, authenticity, and trust—according to Sterling Shea, Global Head of Wealth and Asset Management at Dow Jones. Brie Williams sat down with Shea to learn more.


1 “The MetLife Study of Inheritance and Wealth Transfer to Baby Boomers,” Boston College Center for Retirement Research, December 2010.

2 “The ‘Greater’ Wealth Transfer: Capitalizing on the Intergenerational Shift in Wealth,” Accenture, 2012.

3 “Why the $41 Trillion Wealth Transfer Estimate is Still Valid,” Planned Giving Design Center, May 18, 2011.

4 “A Golden Age of Philanthropy Still Beckons: National Wealth Transfer and Potential for Philanthropy Technical Report: Boston College Center on Wealth and Philanthropy, May 28, 2014.