The roots and traditions of inheritance planning

19 Jan 2016
Walt Disney gave half his wealth to his family and the other half to charity. Frank Sinatra willed his over to his kids, wife and former wives.

Babe Ruth endowed the Babe Ruth Foundation. Benjamin Franklin gave land in Nova Scotia to his son, a Philadelphia home to his daughter, a Boston home to his sister and his list of generous giveaways goes on.

Whether you’ve got half a country to pass on or a box of treasured memories, the tradition of passing valuables onto the people we leave behind goes back centuries. We take a brief look at the history of estate planning and the trends in inheritance planning today.


Inheritance planning: where did it all start?

In a brief History of Estate Planning we’re reminded that even in the earliest cultures, property ownership remained in the hands of families or tribes of the deceased. The custom of writing a will, of course, came later. In ancient Rome, both written and oral wills required approval from a public official. Just over the sea in Anglo-Saxon England “land transfers were viewed as transfers of power” and therefore  required approval from royalty.

 The roots and traditions of inheritance planning


Past inequalities of inheritance traditions

Men might be from Mars and women from Venus but in the old days if you were inheriting a planet, you’d have to be a man to do it. For centuries, property was automatically transferred to the eldest son. It was only in 1540 that the Statute of Wills was passed. As the article explains: “the right to dispose property according to your own wishes is founded on the principles of freedom, liberty, and right to individual ownership.” Unfortunately, for far too long women were excluded from enjoying this right. Disinheritance was common, or other ways were devised to funnel family assets to male heirs. Thankfully times have changed.


What are the stats behind inheritance planning today?

In an infographic on Inheritance in Great Britain we see that £75 billion was inherited between 2008-2010. Focusing on this same period, we see that almost 20% of inheritances included property, and in over 46% of cases, the money was inherited from parents or parents-in-law.


How people are protecting their assets

With today’s hefty inheritance and estate taxes, careful inheritance planning is more important than ever. For those who value the custom of sharing assets and wealth with those you choose, there are a number of ways to ensure your loved ones will continue to feel your support. You might choose to give potentially taxable gifts to loved ones or to set up a trust. Say for instance you’re looking at the current Calpe property for sale as you’re familiar with the lifestyle potential of spending more time on this laidback Spanish coast, then why not consider the possibilities of putting the property into a trust, so your family can avoid paying excessive taxes when you move on? Keeping property in a family is one way to pass on a legacy and maintain a sense of security for the family you’ve lovingly built.

If you’re looking to move forward with your inheritance planning and you’d like to find out more about investing in Calpe property for sale, get in touch with us about the retirement, lifestyle and investment opportunities that Calpe has to offer.

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