Dad, How Much Will I Inherit?

This is a really loaded question, son.  Are you waiting for me to die?  Seriously, though, it is a rather interesting question in the age we live in, and it may not be as much as the heirs think.

Throughout history, a parent’s ability to create something to leave to the children was considered by most societies to be simply the way it was done.  Due to changes in the way many modern governments look at inheritances, a sizeable chunk of many estates is now eaten up in capital gains taxes, estate taxes and fees.

This is true in most of the modern western world.  So the short answer to the question is, you may not inherit as much as you might think, unless some creative ideas are implemented.  This was painfully demonstrated when my dear friend passed away.

“Throughout history, a parent’s ability to create something to leave to the children was considered to be simply the way it was done

The taxes and fees were calculated on the day he died.  That happened to be right before the crash in Ontario in the 1990s.  He happened to own four houses, a farm, a marina complex and also had considerable investment funds.  The houses were valued at their market value on the day he died, so capital gains taxes were calculated based on that number.

The amount the estate ended up owing was substantial, which required selling most of the real estate.  Unfortunately, the bottom fell out of the real estate market at that time, which meant the sales brought in far below what they had been valued at.  The amount that his children ended up inheriting was therefore far below what they had initially expected.

The best advice is to start your own financial planning as soon as you start earning an income.  Don’t procrastinate.  Thinking you can spend everything you earn on playing and having a good time now, banking on a healthy inheritance to bail you out later is, frankly, the very worst kind of planning.  In our modern world with the greatly increased life expectancy of everyone, your parents might use up a lot of that expected inheritance, and you might be too old to enjoy what’s left over!

Enjoy and cherish your parents as long as you can.  Begin planning your own financial strategy for your future, now.

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