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Baby boomer estate plans often leave children out

For many in the baby boomer generation, it is more important to pay for today's expenses than to plan for the inheritance of their children. In fact, it may surprise some in Nevada to learn that only 55 percent of boomers think that leaving money to offspring as a part of an estate plan is important. In addition, almost one-third of boomers would rather leave money to a charity than their children.

There are several reasons for this shift from the inheritances that are traditional in estate planning. These include the need to pay for medical treatment for their aging parents and the concern about the financial maturity of their children. Among those concerned that the younger generation cannot handle the pressure that comes with a large inheritance is Bill Gates, according to one report. He, like some others with great wealth, is apparently against leaving large sums to his children at his death.

In addition to their reticence to leave money to their children, many baby boomers have not discussed their wealth with their children. Often because they are uncomfortable discussing money, over a third of all boomers have not disclosed their net worth to their kids. This failure to discuss finances could lead to surprises when the contents of an estate plan are revealed.

Creating an estate plan that adequately reflects the wishes of a person can be important if the person has a charity or organization to which they would like to leave funds. Without such a plan, the assets held by an individual will be distributed as is mandated under Nevada law. In addition, baby boomers may wish to consider having a discussion with their potential heirs about their estate plans. Such a discussion could clear up any misconceptions about to whom money is going to be left.

Source: CNBC, "Boomers, Kids in Family Feud Over Inherited Millions," Madeline Laskoski, June 20, 2012

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