Inheritance - a broader perspective

When people are thinking about preparing their will, they often think of what their loved ones will inherit in financial terms. Property, chattels, and financial assets.

When you take a step back, however, your loved ones inherit far more from you than property and financial benefits.

Even if you're enormously wealthy, you probably hope your loved ones will inherit more important things from you than a healthy balance sheet.

At the very basic level, your biological children receive a genetic inheritance from you.

But they receive so much more.

Your children and the people you spend time with will inherit a lifetime of memories and experiences. Memories and experiences about you; memories and experiences shared with you; or memories and experiences that they would only have had because of you.

Your loved ones may inherit explicit and implicit beliefs about the world and other people from you. And they may become the stewards of values that you hold dear. 

If they're lucky, people you've touched will inherit some of the wisdom that you've earned. This wisdom may be passed on for many generations, long after the property and money you leave has gone.

Inheritance isn't just about money. 

If you've accumulated a significant nest egg, and you know you'll be comfortable for the rest of your life, you may want to consider whether you need to provide your loved ones with an inheritance of money, or whether you might want to exchange some of that for something less tangible. Like positive memories, shared with you and your other loved ones.

Sonnie Bailey

Sonnie is the founder and principal of Fairhaven Wealth.

Before founding Fairhaven Wealth, Sonnie worked in the legal and financial services industries for over a decade.

Sonnie first became involved with financial advice as a specialist financial services lawyer. For many years, he was an “adviser of advisers”, reviewing thousands of advice files prepared by hundreds of financial advisers, and providing feedback in relation to the quality and appropriateness of advice; industry best practice; risk management; and regulatory compliance. He has published work in industry publications and spoken at various financial advice conferences.

Sonnie has also worked with banks, investment management firms, insurers, and derivatives providers.

Sonnie has worked as a private client lawyer, focusing on succession, estate planning and trusts. He ran his own legal firm in Australia before relocating to New Zealand. He has also acted in independent trustee and company director positions.

Sonnie is passionate about helping people achieve their goals and manage the risks to which they are exposed.

He has written extensively on his blog, New Zealand Wealth and Risk, which can be found at

Sonnie is married to his wonderful wife Chrissy, and has two young children, Ben and Anna.