A return to traditional attitudes about inheritance, which place an emphasis on the family and continuity, is occurring, according to US Trustís 2012 Insights on Wealth and Worth survey.
In the survey of 642 high net worth and ultra high net worth adults, 76 per cent of those aged between 18 and 46 said it was important to leave a financial inheritance to children, as did 73 per cent of respondents over the age of 67.
However, only 55 per cent of baby boomers said it was important, implying the youngest and oldest generations hold more similar views on this issue.
ď[Gen X and Y] are pragmatic, proactive and disciplined in their approach to investing and wealth management, surpassing baby boomers in planning for wealth for themselves and their families,Ē said US Trust.
Social and economic influences could have made younger generations more cautious in their approach to planning, and thus more similar to pre-baby boom generations, said Keith Banks, president of US Trust: "The next generation has not experienced the consistently strong economic growth or investment returns that baby boomers experienced during the longest bull market in history."
Among respondents who said it wasnít important to leave a financial inheritance to children, one in three said they would rather leave their money to charity.
There was a common strand of thought running through all the generations though: family harmony and financial security were top goals for respondents of all ages, although each generation emphasized different elements of family responsibility.
So far, 40 per cent of Gen X and Y have established plans for parentsí eldercare needs; the comparative figure for baby boomers is just 20 per cent. Meanwhile, 54 per cent of Gen X and Y have already paid for relativesí medical costs at some stage, compared to 42 per cent of baby boomers.
For many, this means financing long-term care for aging or infirm parents or relatives: 38 per cent of those between 18 and 46 are meeting such costs, while 30 per cent of baby boomers are. Just 6 per cent of baby boomers have purchased long-term care insurance for their parents compared to 33 per cent of Gen X and Ys.
The survey also revealed a breakdown of communication between generations when it came to discussing these vital matters. Over half of respondents to the survey had never discussed eldercare plans with their children, and 43 per cent had never talked to the generation above them about what their expectations and plans were.