From BCBusiness Online:
In line with their penchant for tweaking all sorts of social norms, wealthy boomers are shifting away from traditional estate planning – dividing their cash and assets between the next generation – toward the newer concept of legacy planning: figuring out how they want to be remembered and how they want to contribute to their families, communities and the rest of the world. A 2005 survey by global insurance giant Allianz found that boomers and their parents actually felt that the non-financial things an individual leaves behind – values, morality, faith – are 10 times more important to them than who gets the stuff or the money.
However, while exceptionally wealthy Canadians (those with upwards of $10 million) are increasingly leaving the bulk of their estates to charitable causes, our need to leave a monetary legacy for the kids remains pretty strong. Economists have identified four basic motives for this. First, there's the altruistic: the sheer pleasure of knowing our children will benefit. There's the egotistic, when the bequest has more to do with our own selfish desire for immortality than to help our children. There's also the strategic, when we use the promise of inheritance as a carrot to extract filial obedience, such as joining the family business, getting a degree, choosing a "suitable" mate or maybe even visiting us in our old age. Lastly, there's the accidental motive: we may not intend to leave anything when we die, but we wind up saving more than we can spend, so our heirs luck out.