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focus…it’s not all to do with money!

One of the increasing challenges facing parents and other family members today is achieving success in their estate planning – passing on their wealth well. But how should we define ‘success’?

Much of estate planning focuses on the financial aspects: ensuring a tax-efficient and cost-efficient transition of wealth to future generations. But, in doing so, do we sometimes lose sight of what is most important? What is the overarching purpose of passing on wealth?

Given the abundance of ‘affluenza’ nowadays, those planning their estates are increasingly concerned that focusing solely on ways to increase the amount of wealth passed on to children and other family members results in a lack of focus on another key issue – whether or not leaving a substantial inheritance to a child or family member is a good thing. As parents, we want to do the best for our children and families. But many are concerned that leaving a large inheritance to their children could be harmful in some way if not handled correctly.

There is a saying: ‘It is easy to give away money; what is difficult is to give it away well.’ The values we pass on to our children and grandchildren, and the education and life experiences we encourage them to have, including learning how to become financially savvy and astute, are all part of this challenge. The lack of a balanced approach and the pursuit of money as an end in itself – as opposed to a means to provide opportunity for growth and to explore and enjoy all that life has to offer – are challenges in our competitive society, which often measures success by financial achievement.

Do we need to go back to fundamental principles and have clarity on our values when planning to pass on our wealth? Family meetings, family mission statements and a re-emphasis on values important to each family are becoming a part of the wealth planning and succession discussion.

Going forwards, we think there will be more focus on what are sometimes termed the ‘soft’ issues of estate planning but always in the context of the so-called ‘hard’ issues that critically deal with tax minimisation and financial optimisation. A balance between the two is the key to holistic estate planning that can enable us to put ‘success’ back into succession planning.

Remember, we are here to help so please do not hesitate to contact us regarding your financial planning situation – including your estate planning. Reviews are part of our added-value services for our clients.


Barry Fleming & Partners has grown from a tax advisory background into a broader business that encompasses investment management. Both things matter for wealth management, retention and creation. That expertise makes the company strikingly different from others.

This capability allows Barry Fleming and Partners to use its strength in tax advice to take a 360-degree-view of a financial situation to give much broader, more comprehensive advice.

We bring together up to the minute tax, estate, investment and retirement planning advice to create individual, ‘joined up’ financial strategies. This allows our clients to understand and have confidence in how they can best control, retain, and build their assets and income to achieve their objectives with least risk.

A high level of service is key to our long-term client relationships. We work collaboratively. That means our clients can benefit at all times from having ready access to our team of financial planners.

Barry Fleming & Partners are an independent financial advisor specialising in ISA’s, Pensions, Tax, Trusts, Estate Planning, Inheritance Tax Planning (IHT) and other Financial Planning areas. Please don’t hesitate to call on 01488 608 686 and ask to talk to one of our financial advisors. Alternatively use the contact form on our home page.