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4 in 10 adults plan 'significant' lifetime gifts

One in four (25%) of UK adults plan to give their assets away while they are still alive, according to a new survey.

The survey found a growing trend for lifetime giving with 42% of adults saying that they intend to make significant lifetime gifts to their families, often to avoid IHT.

Just under half (46%) intend to give away their assets when they die.

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The survey was conducted for wealth manager Charles Stanley’s ‘Book of Stories 2.0’ white paper which provides insights for advisers on intergenerational wealth transfer and how to engage the next generation of clients.

Consumers said saving inheritance tax was one of the major reasons behind plans to give away assets while they are alive, even if this reduced their own financial security.

Others said it was the pleasure of sharing wealth during their lifetime and they wanted to be able to see the tangible benefits to their families.

Charles Stanley said its findings showed that many advisers see it as their “duty” to encourage their older clients to spend more of their money on themselves, a move often supported by the children.

Over a quarter (26%) of UK based financial advisers say that the top priority for their clients is to provide a legacy for their family and to leave the next generation better off. This ambition is more important than having a high standard of living in retirement or having the freedom not to work (22% cited both these options).

Despite the importance of these decisions over a quarter of British adults (27%) have never discussed the topic of personal finances with their parents, the survey found.

John Porteous, group head of distribution, Charles Stanley said: “While some people want to spend as much of their money as possible during their lifetime, there’s no doubt that passing on a legacy and making sure that children and grandchildren are well provided for is a priority, with the number of people considering lifetime giving increasing.

“However, longevity means that advisers need to ensure their clients have robust financial foundations for their old age, while for the next generation inheritances are coming later in life. This means they are torn between encouraging older clients to spend more on themselves and their desire to help the younger generations while they are still alive. 

“Some clients’ attitudes change as they grow older and their families become bigger. So, it is important for advisers to raise the issue from time to time to make sure that events haven’t prompted a change in their wishes or a desire to take further action with respect to IHT or general estate planning.”

Charles Stanley has £22.8 billion of client funds under management and employs 800 staff.

• Research was carried by Censuswide among a UK representative sample of 203 IFAs in October and November and, separately, 2,128 British adults in October 2020.

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