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Experts recommend defining inheritance expectations before death

Most people in Boca Raton probably think that the issue of leaving an inheritance for one’s spouses, children, or other family members is a relatively easy decision to make. After all, people typically work very hard during their lives to provide for their families. Why would they want to buck that trend in death? Yet recent studies have shown that as many as one in three baby boomers surveyed plan on leaving their assets to charity upon their deaths.

One of the reasons behind this trend may be the generational belief that children should be left to earn their own wealth, or that those left with an inheritance will come to rely upon that for their sustenance and devalue having to provide for themselves. Whatever the reasons behind one’s decision regarding his or her will, it’s recommended that he or she be up front with potential beneficiaries to set clear expectations about inheritance issues. It’s estimated that 25% of people within the ages of 18-59 expect to receive an inheritance at some point during their lives, so making sure that estate expectations are set beforehand could go a long way to keep these potential beneficiaries from being disappointed.

Many people may find this conversation difficult to have because parents may not want to disappointment their children and children don’t want to make their parents feel as though they are greedy. Yet any awkwardness that may arise during such a conversation could pale in comparison to conflicts that may arise between beneficiaries who haven’t been told what to expect from a potential inheritance. Families needing to have this conversation may wish to also consult with an estate planning attorney for advice. 

Source: Kansas City Star “Leaving an inheritance? Manage expectations” Steve Rosen, Oct.11, 2013

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