Disinheriting your children might be for their own good

Rhymer Rigby:

More recently, Lane Fury, a woman in her twenties who has begun to inherit significant sums and eventually stands to inherit $6m, told the New York Post: “There is this sense of shame or embarrassment, like maybe some of the problems in the world are my fault.”

In his book Inherited Wealth, John Levy identifies how some of those who are bequeathed a large sum are afflicted. These include a lack of self-esteem, guilt (from not having earned it), delayed maturity (from not having to overcome life challenges), paralysis (brought on by not knowing what to do with it) and boredom, which can lead to the type of self-destructive behaviour we see with Roman in Succession. So, should we disinherit our children for their own good?

Well, maybe not. There are plenty of ways to use wealth positively. Inheriting a large sum of money can free your descendants from the shackles of everyday work and give them the choice to do what they want with their lives. They can, to dip into the self-help lexicon, find their passion and purpose. It can allow them to become leaders in the battle against climate change or exponents of female empowerment in developing countries. It can provide them with a launch pad to found empires of their own. Or it can turn them into the next Paris Hilton. “Money is a magnifier and can enhance problems as well as good instincts,” says Carol Sherman, managing director of the Institute for Preparing Heirs, a California-based wealth adviser.