Inheritance – Fairness or Need?

Inheritance – Fairness or Need?

I talk to mentors and coaches a lot. Many of you will know I have a few mentors whose brains I pick from time to time. And I have a coach who directs me into areas I am afraid to go.

Many will think that if I know all the stuff I teach or sell, I cannot be very good if I need a teacher myself.

This is what I will say. Every business, no matter how small or big, irrelevant of what it knows or doesn’t know needs mentors and/ or coaches. This is because they see things in your business you do not. They see things in your personal life you do not.

And I truly believe that I have achieved what I have professionally and personally because of the coaches and mentors I have.

And occasionally, you may find that your mentor or coach comes to you asking for advice. When it happened to me it was quite shocking. Mentors and coaches are looked up to. They are our gurus. They are the equivalent of divinity. How can such people ask us mere mortals for advice?

But the question asked was one that I deal with almost daily. It was a question any client would ask me and when I first heard it, I thought I misheard it or thought there was more to it. Because I am absolutely convinced my mentor had not only been asked this question before, he had undoubtedly advised other people on this countless times.

In other words, this was not something new. It was more a dilemma requiring clarity.

My mentor has 4 children. All doing very well. But one child together with their partner is doing exceptionally well. How well? Well let me put it this way. They are in their late 30’s and earn millions. Within 10 years earnings are expected to be in 8 figures. And ten years after that probably 9 figures. The other 3 children? Well, they won’t be living on cabbage soup that’s for sure. But they won’t be earning 8 figures anytime soon either, if ever.  6 figures is about as good as it is going to get. 

The question posed to me by my mentor was simple. If I have 1 child doing so well, should I split my inheritance equally or is it Ok to give less to the child with exceptional earnings on the basis that they will never need it?

Here is what I told them:.

• Is it Fair?

All parents try to show they do not have a favourite – but they do. 

Is it fair that they get more or less because of unconscious favouritism?

Is it fair that just because one child is infinitely more successful than the other or worked harder than the others, they should lose out on an inheritance?

• There is no automatic right!

Children often think they have an automatic right to wealth. They don’t. 

Bill Gates and Warren Buffet have already told their children there will be not much in the pot for their children. I have told my kids I will educate them financially, but the rest is up to them. They are to assume they may get a few coins that are left in my pocket and I have set up 2 trusts to get them on the financial ladder. But apart from that my kids know not to expect anything else. If they get it, they get it. If they don’t, they won’t be surprised.

• What do the Children Want?

We often think our children do not have a view or should not be talk to. They do have a view and if adults you can have an adult conversation with them.

Some will not want to talk about it. Others will. Some may confuse you more. Some will give clarity. But unless you talk to them you will not know.

Some children think they are not their parent’s favourite. If they lose out, they may do so thinking they were not loved and this on its own can have consequences in their later life. 

In my mentor’s case the high earning child is the one who thinks they are not favourite. So, there are obviously issues here which may need some explaining.

• What Do They Want

Sometimes we get so wrapped up in fairness, right and wrong that we forget that at the end of the day it is all crap.

We work all our lives and generate wealth and have a chance to leave a financial legacy. What that legacy should be and what we do with the wealth we create is up to us. No one else.

When you listen to Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, they will tell you the measure of a person’s wealth is the ability to give it away unemotionally i.e the more you give away charitably the wealthier you are. I am not totally convinced about that but then again maybe that is why I did not become the next Bill Gates.

What I am saying is you and your spouse are probably the only ones who can decide to do what they want to do with your wealth and at the end of the day there is no wrong answer. 

And if there is no wrong answer, are we all wasting time struggling to find answer that does not exist?

What will my mentor do?

After our detailed discussion, he realised that maybe he was avoiding a discussion with his children because of what truths or falsehoods would come out. But he also realised it needed to be done – something that had been avoided until our conversation.

And that is the thing about mentors and coaches. They sometimes tell you the obvious. But they tell you in such a way that you choose to move forward. I cannot believe my mentor did not know what to do. He just needed that extra external view and a bit of clarity. Once he had got that it was time to move forward.

Estate Planning is Step 9 of our 9 steps to more time, more freedom and more wealth. If you would like to know more contact hitesh at or Ros at or call 0731619548.


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