What can we help you find?
Search by Topic

Your search had no results

Please try the following to find what you’re looking for:

  • Check your spelling
  • Try different words or word combinations (E.g. "fund form")
Your guide to inheritance

Your guide to inheritance

Your inheritance is personal. Advice should be too.

By 2025, around $1 trillion will pass to the next generation of Australians – and $3.5 trillion by 2035.1 If you’re expecting to receive an inheritance in the next few years, especially one of a million dollars or more, it can be a life-changing opportunity. It’s also one of life’s major financial decisions, bringing new challenges and complexity as your lifestyle and wealth management goals change.

Alternatively, you may be preparing to transfer your assets and are considering when and how best to pass them on – safely and sustainably. Whatever your situation and goals for your family wealth, we’ve prepared a range of important information to help you understand what’s involved.

If you prefer to talk to an adviser about your estate and inheritance needs, call us on 1800 631 381.

Six ways to use your inheritance

Navigating wills and the estate administration process.

Passing wealth to the next generation comes with risk. In fact, over 70% of inter-generational wealth transfers fail2. Regrettably this means significant family wealth is often squandered within a generation or two. Putting in place a plan that helps your family understand and prepare for the challenges of managing significant family wealth is vital. When you do, you can be confident that your family will be among the three out of ten families who transfer wealth successfully.

Planning inter-generational wealth

People often say there are two things you should never talk about: politics and religion. But when we talked to 3,000 Australians, we found another — legacy. Only 36% of people have discussed their parents’ will and legacy with them3.

It’s remarkable that so many of us are so close to our children, but never talk to them about what we would like to happen to the wealth we’ve spent a lifetime building up.

For most of us, inheriting is the single biggest injection of cash or capital we will ever receive. But 1 in 53 of us are expecting to inherit without really being certain we will. For something which can make such a massive difference to our lives — it’s a lot to take on trust.

Who discusses inheritance?

According to our study3, while any family might talk about their legacy, there are some that are more likely to. Families who are close to each other, families that describe their relationship as loving and caring, are 5% more likely to discuss legacy. Happy, close families are also 10% more likely to:

  • Receive an inheritance
  • Be grateful for what they receive

While it’s unsurprising that close families are more likely to have difficult conversations, there are other factors which make a discussion about inheritance more likely. We’re not sure why, but women are 12% more likely to talk to their parents about their will (42% vs 30%)3.

Perhaps they are closer to their parents, or better communicators, or more comfortable talking about difficult subjects?

Age is also a factor. By the time children reach their teens, around one quarter3 of parents have discussed their inheritance with them. This percentage increases gradually until children are in their 40s and 50s. But if you haven’t discussed it by then, chances are you never will.

Learn more about how putting together the right plans and structures can look after your loved ones after you've gone. 

Just as everyone is different, so are their reactions to inheriting. While people are most likely to feel grateful, they might also experience a whole range of other emotions including happiness, surprise, relief or disappointment.

While 76% of people are likely to feel grateful for their inheritance, this rises to 86% if you describe your family as happy or close3.

Size also matters, but maybe not in the way you might think.

35% of people feel happy about their inheritance and this rises to 52% if they inherit what they describe as a ‘large’ amount.3 Also, the larger the inheritance, the more likely you are to feel excited and relieved.

However, interestingly, the larger your inheritance the less likely you are to feel grateful. 78% of people feel grateful for a self-described ‘small’ inheritance and 75% for an ‘average’ inheritance, but this drops to 69% when a ‘large’ inheritance is at stake.3 Also, while the overall percentages are quite low, people who inherit a ‘large’ amount are around twice as likely to feel ambivalent or underwhelmed than those who receive a small amount.

The benefits of breaking your silence

Admittedly, talking about what happens after you die is uncomfortable, but it’s also important. And really, while it isn’t an easy conversation to start, talking about your legacy, will, or estate plan should be a conversation about love. A conversation about who and what is important to you.

As part of this conversation, you may consider introducing your children to your financial adviser. It can be valuable to involve your children in your estate plans as this can lead to greater certainty and comfort on a subject which is usually clouded by doubt, worry and angst. When parents discuss their intentions with their children, suddenly the percentage of people who think they will inherit jumps from 53% to 80%.3 That’s a lot more people that can plan their future with greater confidence.

There’s also another, perhaps unexpected, side effect of discussing your legacy with your children. It makes them more likely to seek advice and make or update a will themselves. While only 36% of Australians have discussed their will with their parents, this jumps to 55% for people who have a will of their own. A 20% difference3.

Learn more about how putting together the right plans and structures can look after your loved ones after you've gone. 

It’s easy to imagine the ways an inheritance will make your life easier. What’s a little harder is being ready to receive an inheritance, from understanding the financial structures involved to how long the estate administration process can take.

It’s also important to recognise that, while an inheritance gives you opportunities, it can also be disruptive to family relationships and the family as a whole.

Perpetual can help you prepare and plan for your inheritance so when the time comes, you can avoid making potentially regrettable decisions – and instead have the peace of mind that long-term financial security provides.

When will I receive my inheritance?

In complex situations it may take up to a year or more for an estate to be administered. Here is a summary of what’s involved to help you understand where you and/or the estate executor may be in the process.

1. Confirm assets and liabilities: Verify the assets and liabilities of the estate for a statement to the Supreme Court as part of the application for Probate.

2. Apply for the probate: Court confirms will validity. Publishes statutory notice for all parties and creditors to lodge a claim against estate.

3. Calculate tax implications: Prepare and lodge tax returns for the deceased estate until it's fully administered.

4. Collect and realise assets: Probate is granted, and assets are prepared for distribution under the terms of the will.

5. Pay legacies and bequests: Cash legacies and items gifted under the will are distributed.

6. Distribute the estate: The remainder of the estate is distributed, and each beneficiary receives detailed financial statements.

Learn more about how putting together the right plans and structures can look after your loved ones after you've gone. 


Our advisers - in their own words


“Until the time comes, most families don’t fully recognise the complexities of managing the two largest assets in most inheritances – the family home and super. From tax to family relationships, there’s a lot to consider. Our experienced team of advisers, investment and tax specialists can help you navigate these challenges and set you up for long-term financial success.” – Catherine Chivers, Senior Manager, Strategic Advice, Perpetual Private, NSW


Meet the team

Robert Woodford
Partner, Private Clients NSW
M.App.Fin (MAFC) BBS (Accounting and Finance)
Andrew Parker.jpg
Andrew Parker
Partner, Private Clients SA
Tony Mastromanno
Partner, Private Clients VIC
Constantine Maglis
B. Com (Acctg & Fin), Adv.Dip. FS (FP), AFP ®
Robert Woodford

Robert Woodford

Partner, Private Clients NSW M.App.Fin (MAFC) BBS (Accounting and Finance)

Robert is the Partner of NSW’s High Net Worth division.

Before joining Perpetual in July 2017 he was an Investment Consultant with the Private Investment Consulting ('PIC') team within NAB Asset Management providing investment consulting services private and institutional clients. 

Immediately before joining the PIC team he was Head of Fixed Income and Senior Adviser in the Private Wealth Management division of Wilsons Advisory in Sydney responsible for the investment management of institutional and private client portfolios.  Before that role, Robert was with Nikko AM, responsible for managing Nikko’s relationship with key institutional clients for the fixed income business, as well as developing and implementing tailored fixed income strategies for these clients.

Previously, he was co-founder and executive director of Columbus Capital Ltd (a capital markets origination and funds management firm of ‘RMBS’ assets), and has also worked as a senior investment specialist with AMP Capital Investors Fixed Income and Currency and with Westpac Institutional Bank as an associate director in the debt capital markets division providing coverage of fixed income and credit markets, as well as being a senior analyst in high yield and emerging markets in London with Bankers Trust International PLC and ING Barings respectively.

Andrew Parker
Andrew Parker.jpg

Andrew Parker

Partner, Private Clients SA

Andrew is the Partner of SA’s Not For Profit division.

With over 32 years experience, Andrew specialises in advice to large complex organisations, family offices, not-for-profit clients and philanthropic trusts. He has a deep understanding of the unique needs and strategic objectives of not-for-profit organisations and helps his clients implement best practice investment policies. Andrew also connects clients to other parts of the Perpetual business, including Philanthropic services.

Prior to joining Perpetual, Andrew held senior adviser roles within commercial and private banking based in Adelaide for the last 9 years. Andrew has also held senior manager roles in institutional banking at JPMorgan Chase, Deutsche Bank and Royal Bank of Scotland in Tokyo, Singapore, London, New York and Sydney over a period of 20 years.

Andrew has a Bachelor of Business (Finance), Advanced Diploma of Financial Planning, is an accredited Self- Managed Super Fund adviser (SMSFA) and speaks several languages.

Tony Mastromanno

Tony Mastromanno

Partner, Private Clients VIC

Tony is the Associate Partner of VIC’s High Net Worth division.

Tony provides sophisticated financial advice to Perpetual’s private clients. He has extensive experience in investment management, retirement planning, superannuation, taxation, estate planning and recommending appropriate strategic structures.

Tony enjoys working closely with clients to develop highly effective investment strategies and structures which help to ensure that their financial goals are achieved.

Tony has a Diploma in Financial Planning – Financial Planning Association of Australia, 2003. He joined the financial services industry in 1993 and has been with Perpetual since 2002. His previous roles and experience in financial services include Financial Adviser and Client Relationship Manager with AMP and the Commonwealth Bank.

Constantine Maglis

Constantine Maglis

Partner B. Com (Acctg & Fin), Adv.Dip. FS (FP), AFP ®

Con is a Partner with extensive experience advising the not-for-profit sector, executives and ultra-high net worth families. He delivers the full range of resources needed to address the complex, multi-faceted challenges of managing significant wealth.

Since 2010, Con has provided trusted advice to his clients and is highly experienced in managing wealth and protecting their investment assets.
In his role at Perpetual, Con’s vision is to enrich communities, people and lives with advice and services that inform, educate and sustain longevity of wealth. He believes in honest and meaningful relationships with his clients and delivering an exceptional level of service to help them reach their objectives.

Con delivers tailored strategies to meet individual client objectives by bringing in specialist teams within Perpetual, including investment research and strategy, governance, philanthropy, succession planning, estate planning and accounting.
Prior to joining Perpetual, Con spent eight years at Commonwealth Bank, as Strategic and Investment Adviser at Commonwealth Private.

Con holds a Bachelor of Business and Commerce with a double major in Accounting and Finance and is currently completing his studies with the CFA Institute.


Contact our team today

And see how we can help protect and build your wealth

Catalyst newsletter

Expert insights on wealth management strategies and market trends

1. Seer Data estimated of intergenerational wealth transfer, derived from 2016 ABS data
2. Williams and Preisser, Philanthropy Heirs & Values, 2005
3. Lembit, G., (2019) ‘What do you care about’, Perpetual Client Insights and Analytics, released 26 September 2019



Perpetual Private advice and services are provided by Perpetual Trustee Company Limited (PTCo) ABN 42 000 001 007, AFSL 236643. This webpage contains general information only and is not intended to provide you with financial advice or take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider, with a financial or other adviser, whether the information is suitable for your circumstances. To the extent permitted by law, no liability is accepted for any loss or damage as a result of any reliance on this information. Perpetual Private advice and services are provided by Perpetual Trustee Company Limited (PTCo) ABN 42 000 001 007, AFSL 236643. This information was prepared by PTCo. To view the Perpetual Group's Financial Services Guide, please click here. The information is believed to be accurate at the time of compilation and is provided in good faith. This information, including any assumptions and conclusions is not intended to be a comprehensive statement of relevant practice or law that is often complex and can change. This article may contain information contributed by third parties. PTCo do not warrant the accuracy or completeness of any information contributed by a third party. Any views expressed in this article are opinions of the author at the time of writing and do not constitute a recommendation to act. No company in the Perpetual Group (Perpetual Limited ABN 86 000 431 827 and its subsidiaries) guarantees the performance of any fund or the return of an investor’s capital. Past performance is not indicative of future performance.