When you have children, you create a little piece of immortality that you add to the world. Your children are the continuation of your bloodline, your name and you. Many parents don’t realise that all the grandchildren that they will one day have, the great-grandchildren and beyond, all exist because of them. It makes sense, then, that you would want to leave a legacy for your children to enjoy one day. Your time on this earth isn’t unlimited, but it can be valuable in more ways than one.
Parents pass down a lot to their children: eye colour, hair colour and height included. They give them all their wisdom, quirks, mannerisms and humour. Parents strive to give their children the very best through life, better than they themselves had as children. It’s the job of every parent out there to give their children the best possible start in life, and when you kiss the brow of your sleeping babes, you can sleep peacefully knowing you are grafting for them. Imagine how well you can sleep knowing that you’ve set up their futures so that when you’re gone, you can keep taking care of them.
One of the least exciting things to do is plan your will and estate, but it’s also one of the most important things that you can do for your children. Wanting the best for them is the ultimate desire, but if you haven’t set up a will or dictated anywhere what you want to happen to your money, you aren’t doing the best for them. We can plan out that holiday home mortgage and pack as much money into investment strategies as possible, but if you don’t write it down it won’t be able to go anywhere once you’re gone. It’s important to realise that parenting goes beyond everything, even the grave, to ensure that your kids are as happy and cared for as possible whatever their age happens to be.
Of course, there’s always a worry that when you leave your cash and assets to your kids, they’ll fritter it away and waste your hard work. The thing is, this is where you instil values in your children so that when the time comes for them to inherit the money and assets that you leave behind, they can manage that inheritance properly. There are so many clear benefits to leaving your children money. If you’ve ever struggled for money, or your parents have, and you’ve lived through those effects, you won’t want your children to go through the same. You’d have worked as hard as possible through your whole life to ensure that your children would want for nothing. Leaving them an inheritance can mean that their children – your grandchildren – will also never have to panic about college fees and whether food can be put on the table that day. There’s also the point that leaving an inheritance to your children and grandchildren means that the money that you spent years putting away will stay in the family. There are many reasons to why you should leave your children your legacy, but the biggest of all is that you have raised them to value money and know that they won’t waste it.
There is an argument that leaving children money and assets to share would create a situation where children just don’t appreciate what they have. Even adult children can be rather greedy, and a financial professional can help you to work through your options when it comes to having doubts as to whether you want to leave anything to them at all. If you choose not to leave anything to your children, the concern is where it would end up. After all, you’ve spent your life building something for your family and their future, it makes sense to be worried about what happens to all that you’ve worked hard for if you don’t want your children to have it. This is where it’s so vital for you to have a will. If you don’t ever write a will, your money and estate can be dealt with according to the laws of the place that you live; which could see it being donated to local government. Having a will allows you to dictate where you would want your money to go, whether this is a charity or a separate entity outside your children and their children.
Thankfully, you can protect yourself and your children when you make such a decision. If you want to give your children all that you’ve earned for yourself, but you don’t want them to mismanage the money, you can set up a trust that is controlled by the bank to essentially drip feed the money to your children in pieces. The decision that you make about your money should be done carefully. Ideally, you’d raise your children not to expect anything, so that they don’t end up only acting in a manner that is false just to benefit from you after you are gone. Always talk to a lawyer about setting up a will so that you can avoid any confusion for anyone after you do die. The decisions that you make are going to be sensitive and you should explain to your grown children what to expect after you go; not so that they can start planning a cruise, but to explain that you raised them to be sensible, forward-thinking adults.
Taking care of your children doesn’t just start and end with babyhood. It doesn’t matter how old they get, you will always worry for them and worry about them, and it’s up to you to decide whether you continue to care for them beyond this life. If the answer there is going to be yes, then start putting plans in place early so that you can be assured in the knowledge that your affairs are in order. Parenthood is about leaving legacies, both in knowledge and in physical assets; how will you leave yours?