More of my clients have started to ask the following questions: If I were to die tomorrow, who would inherit my estate, assets, properties, businesses and belongings? Should I save and spend frugally so my beneficiaries receive the maximum possible inheritance from my wealth? Or, should I consider spending it and not leaving much behind at all?
Former front man of the band The Police and globally renowned solo artist Sting plans on doing just that. The 62 year old singer has amassed a fortune in excess of $300 million. And although he has six children ranging in age from 18 to 37, he does not intend to save his earnings just so they’ll have a financial net to fall into. In fact, he says he and his wife plan to spend most, if not all of it.
Bizarre as it may seem to many parents, Sting’s reluctance to leave considerable wealth to his children is actually becoming a common trend among the rich and famous. However, this is also the mentality that Sting’s children have grown up with all their lives.
Yet one has to wonder — is such behavior beneficial to children in the long run? Does it actually help them become productive members of society and prevent them from turning into spoiled, incompetent do-nothings? Sting explains that his children rarely ask him for financial help and that he has always encouraged them to earn their own incomes.
When debating whether to leave a significant fortune to your own children, consider the following points:
No estate means no financial disputes — In a perfect world, beneficiaries would happily accept the last wishes of the deceased. Unfortunately, especially where large and complex estates are concerned, loved ones often end up squabbling with each other over details or contesting the will’s validity Perhaps Sting believes that by leaving little money behind, he’ll prevent financial disputes over his wealth after he dies.
There is a responsible way to leave behind a fortune — Completely disinheriting your children may not be your cup of tea. Nor may be intentionally depleting your funds. Fear not — your desire to leave your assets to your children is perfectly normal. Even if you are very wealthy, you may still be able to provide ample inheritance without it affecting their character. While your children may know they have a multi-million trust fund to fall back on when they get older, you can instill in them strong values and an understanding of financial responsibility at an early age.
Sting’s decision to spend most of his money may seem foolish, or even downright cruel toward his children. However, the Fields of Gold singer is determined to prevent them from becoming typical trust fund babies. As you consider your estate planning options in Union County, NJ, and how your choices may affect your loved ones, remember to consult an experienced attorney before making any final decisions.
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