Expecting an Inheritance? Consider Coordinating Your Estate Plan with Your Parents’

Doing some ‘upstream’ planning now will take the guesswork out of what’s coming your way.

A father and daughter hug and laugh as they get ready to sit down to a meal.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

One important aspect of estate planning that can sometimes fly under the radar is “upstream” planning, which focuses on what clients may be inheriting from their parents. This can come into play especially if a client believes they might receive a significant inheritance, because learning those details ahead of time can greatly impact decisions about what to do with their own assets.

A brief story. We once had an extremely successful client who amassed a net worth of more than $200 million. His father was also a very successful retired CEO whom we reached out to initiate upstream planning conversations. However, when we asked if he would share his estate planning, he denied us. He never discussed his finances with his son and said he never would. His reasoning was that he didn’t want to take away his son’s motivation.

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David Handler, J.D.
Partner in Trusts & Estates, Kirkland & Ellis

David A. Handler is a partner in the Trusts and Estates Practice Group of Kirkland & Ellis LLP. He concentrates his practice on trust and estate planning and administration, representing owners of closely held businesses, family offices, principals of private equity and venture capital funds, individuals and families of significant wealth, and establishing and administering private foundations and other charitable organizations.

With contributions from