Most young, wealthy Americans believe it's important to pass money on to their heirs. They could be disappointed to learn that their parents may not feel the same way.
Are you planning to leave an inheritance to your children or are you expecting to receive an inheritance from your parents? According to a recent survey by U.S. Trust, as reported in Reuters, your answer may depend on your generation.
The Reuters article, titled “Baby Boomers to kids: Inheritance? Maybe not,” reveals that among today’s older generations (a misnomer surely, as the study only surveyed those over age 46), there is an increasing tendency to lean away from leaving an inheritance to their heirs. In fact, roughly a third thought it would be better to leave their money to charity than to their children.
On the other hand, three-quarters of wealthy adults under the age of 46 indicated that it was a priority to leave money for their children. Is it a generational gap? Perhaps that is an appropriate better question for sociologists.
Statistics and sociologists aside, you really need to decide the best use of your own wealth for your loved ones and your charities. It need not be a mutually exclusive proposition. Intrafamilial communication can go a long way toward avoiding hard feelings at best, or litigation at worst.
In the end, cultivating and maintaining positive family relationships is all about managing expectations. It is your decions whether or not you want to leave your wealth to your heirs or to charity. Either way, it is best to seek the advice and help of an estate planning attorney when setting up your estate plan.
Reference: Reuters (June 18, 2012) “Baby Boomers to kids: Inheritance? Maybe not”