Aesop’s Fable of the hard working Ant and the all-play Cricket holds true for Individuals who inherit a great deal of wealth and just want to play. Most families include both types in all generations.

A recent piece in Forbesdescribes two extremes seen in people who inherit large amounts of wealth. The article, “(Some) Inheritors Just Want To Have Fun,” reveals some important insights for families who face these issues.

Some heirs are hard workers, who are diligent and who are focused on growing the family wealth or stewarding it to do good through philanthropy. The other type is all play and no work, and very unapologetic about their desire to simply have fun through partying and spending.

One extreme version of this is a woman who is described as using her inheritance to create a company that will give people the ability to measure how impaired they are.

She is doing a great deal of the research and development herself, by personally becoming completely and utterly inebriated through heavy alcohol use and testing the technology.

These are clearly the extremes. Not all ultra-wealthy heirs spend weeks at a time in luxurious locations providing entertainment, drugs and fine wines to a bus-load of hangers on. At the same time, not all ultra-wealth heirs are devoting their lives to a monk-like existence to save the world. Most fall in the great middle ground, as even hardworking heirs enjoy a little relaxation.

However – for estate planning purposes, it is necessary to understand these extreme and plan accordingly. It is the rare dilettante who suddenly decides to feed the hungry and house the homeless. Know who your heirs are, and what they are likely to do with the family wealth, and plan wisely.

Estate planning is your opportunity to control the purse strings, and thereby the outcome, of how the inherited wealth is used.

Visit with an estate planning attorney to learn more.

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Philip J. Kavesh
Nationally recognized attorney helping clients with customized estate planning guidance for over 40 years.
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