What sort of legacy do you want

By Jeremy Tauri

Jeremy Tauri.
Jeremy Tauri.

Leaving money to your kids - or deciding not to - has been in the news over the past week.

A number of baby boomers have said they want to spend their retirement years travelling the world and enjoying themselves.

Now we are living longer, and are much healthier with it, more people are able to make the most of what used to be their "twilight years".

With greater longevity comes the fact that, if you do decide to leave whatever is left over when you die to your kids, those "children" are probably likely to be nearing retirement themselves.

That means, if you have spent a lifetime building a legacy, it is important to give some thought to how you might make the most of it.

Talk to your kids about what you want to see happen, and what they expect.

If they have health needs or have suffered a particular setback, helping financially may be a top priority for you.

If you do decide you want to leave something behind, consider when you might want to do that.

If your children are currently scrimping and saving to get together the deposit for a first house, they might appreciate an "inheritance" now - and you will be alive to get the enjoyment of seeing them make the most of it.

If your only legacy is likely to be the value of your own house, you might be able to do this without selling it by acting as a guarantor.

Simplicity founder Sam Stubbs was quoted last week as saying he would pay for his kids' education and take them on lots of fantastic holidays, but any money he had left over when he died was going to charity.

He wanted to encourage the kids to make their own way in life.

If you have a lot of money to pass on, this is worth considering. Whatever you decide to do, get some good estate planning to help you ensure that it comes to pass.

- Jeremy Tauri is an associate at Plus Chartered Accountants

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