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Inheritances: Some Ultra-Rich Parents Don't Plan To Support Their Kids

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An increasing number of high-net-worth individuals aren't planning to leave an inheritance to their children, according to a report by U.S. Trust. | Alamy

Born with a silver spoon in your mouth? Don't get used to it.

Some 32 percent of high and ultra-high net worth Americans don't feel it's important to leave an inheritance for their children, according to a report by U.S. Trust, Bank of America's private wealth management division. The report, which classified individuals with $3 million or more in assets as "high net worth" and those with more than $10 million in assets as "ultra-high net worth," coincides with a survey by Merrill Lynch, which reported the importance of giving an inheritance has fallen from 54 percent in 2009 to 41 percent in 2012.

In U.S. Trust's survey of 642 people, 25 percent said they'd rather give their money to charity, while the majority planned to withhold funds because they thought, "each generation should earn its own wealth." Others were more concerned with future health care costs and whether they would have any money left to bequeath.

Of those surveyed, 37 percent held between $3 and $5 million in assets, 31 percent had between $5 and $10 million and 32 percent had at least $10 million in assets.

One demographic is feeling more sour than others. Of baby boomers, 45 percent felt it wasn't important to leave an inheritance for their children, perhaps because they aren't receiving one of their own. As the Wall Street Journal reported, boomers are inheriting less money as their own parents live longer and dip deeper into their savings than they once expected.

Of the survey respondents who do plan to pass on their wealth, the majority felt it was important to keep money within the family and that doing so would have a positive effect on their children's lives.

While many children of the ultra-rich are arguably set for life, many won't see a payout without putting in some hard work. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Bill Gates said he plans to give most of his $61 billion fortune to charity. His three children, however, "will be given an unbelievable education and that will all be paid for. And certainly anything related to health issues we will take care of. But in terms of their income, they will have to pick a job they like and go to work," he said.

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