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Survey finds most people willing to share portion of financial windfall

Special to the Legal News

Published: January 10, 2019

People who receive a sudden fortune are more likely to be charitable, generous and financially responsible.

More than half of Americans say they would share their sudden financial windfall with family, friends and charity, according to a survey BMO Wealth Management released last month.

"Receiving an unexpected amount of money or assets can bring feelings of relief, joy and responsibility, so it's critical to take time to consider all the options," said Tania Slade, national head of wealth planning of BMO Wealth Management, in a statement. "Engaging a team of experts to discuss options and provide insight on decisions, outline the impact on lifestyle cash flow requirements and estate planning goals and, most importantly, advise on growing and preserving that new wealth will set the scene for a successful financial future."

The survey was based on more than 1,000 Americans age 35 and older.

It highlights the objectives and psychological effects from receiving a significant amount of money as baby boomers inheriting about $12 trillion in financial and non-financial assets.

"Receiving unplanned wealth without fully comprehending what to do or how to manage it can be overwhelming, but with the help of experts people can feel more at ease and better prepared to move forward," the firm said in a press release.

Other goals for the money would be paying off debts and investing in the stock market, a business or property, according to the survey findings.

A third of the respondents cited the importance of seeking advice to invest wisely in their investments and retirement plans.

In addition, the top concerns in such an event were helping others at 29 percent, how to create a legacy with the funds (16 percent) and how to avoid family conflict over the money at 15 percent.

BMO Wealth Management encourages clients to seek experts such as financial planner, tax adviser and estate planning attorney to understand how to manage the newfound wealth, followed by finding a place for it, make plans, understanding the tax implications and creating a legacy with the wealth.

"Determine what contribution you would like to make to your family and community, and communicate these desires to your family, especially if you want them to continue your legacy," the firm said in a statement. "As aging Americans transfer trillions of dollars in wealth to their heirs, it is even more essential to understand how retirement and estate planning can help to preserve wealth and leave a meaningful legacy."

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