i've decided that i'm against inheritances, altogether, completely against it. to the extent that i think nothing should be passed on to one's children. why should it, after all? it's not like the children "earned" the assets, in the sense that they won't be receiving these assets in return for work done or risk taken. it's simply a passing on of wealth that is in no way deserved.
the fact that you are born to rich and/or hard-working parents is merely a matter of fate. and each individual is responsible for making their own way in the world. why should you be waiting around for someone to die in order to inherit wealth? make your own money, as much as you are able. and if it's not much or you are not able, then the state is there as a back up for you. and the state should provide a fair and sufficient back up so that you have enough for your needs.
and i'm particularly against family wealth that is passed down through the generations. which in effect means that one child (usually the oldest male child) inherits the bulk of the family inheritance and the others have to survive on their own talents. this seems to be preposterously unfair - why should one child inherit due to an accident of birth? or if the most deserving child is chosen, why should the others be totally left out? it makes no sense, and with modern laws, is not seen much at all.
but i would rather see those assets widely dispersed to those who have most need of them, who are usually not the children of the deceased. said children have often had a pretty good upbringing with access to the best education, and they have the ability to earn a decent income of their own. they don't need the wealth as much those who weren't so lucky in the circumstances of their birth.
i'm feeling more strongly about this today because i've seen yet another instance of families wrangling over wealth and an old person being pressured to do something that is highly unfair. by children who show nothing but greed and entitlement to something that they personally have done nothing to deserve. and i recall one particular person who moved all his assets (worth several millions) into a trust of which only his son was a beneficiary. this was done solely to prevent the daughter from splitting up the family wealth, and i can't even begin to imagine how she feels.
unfortunately this is the way of the world, and our cultural customs are so strong that i don't realistically believe it would in any way be possible to do away with inheritances. even though we would all be so much better off without them - well maybe not economically in each individual case, but in other ways.
someone asked me what would happen to all the wealth if we followed this particular proposal. and so on one of my flights of fancy, i said it should be put into a massive fund to be used for eliminating child poverty, so that no child ever died of starvation on this planet. it's nice to dream a little, isn't it?