Boomers have taught their children well. While nearly three quarters of boomers see a gift of money as an expression of love, according to a recent survey, their children don't see things the same way. These different values have a significant impact on how families should discuss and plan for inheritances.
Reuter's recent article, "Equating inheritance with love can cause discord," explains that Millennials hold very different views about receiving gifts. According to the survey, roughly 33% of them feel that a monetary gift is a way for the older generation to exert influence over them.
The fact is that when generations have different opinions about the motivations of an inheritance, they also fight over how assets should be distributed. While most of those over 50 think it's fair to divide estates equally among heirs, only a third of millennials felt the same way. The younger generation is more open to weighing financial needs and other factors to determine a recipient's worthiness.
Getting family members to talk to one another about estate planning can be tough. But try to get everyone involved early, so that the giver can help avoid any disappointments or misunderstandings. Don't leave any surprises for loved ones to sort out after you have passed. Make certain that they are aware of the emotional legacy rather than the financial details.
Strong family communication can make an unequal distribution easier to handle. Sometimes a trade-off is helpful—as the giver can pass along something meaningful to each heir—when the gifts don't have the same financial value.
Speak with an experienced estate attorney about the values that you wish to pass along to your heirs. They will be able to guide you on how to distribute assets and how to consider the meaningful nature of your estate. Even if your assets are not vast, they are meaningful, and mindful discussions can help you navigate this challenge.
Reference: Reuters (April 15, 2016) "Equating inheritance with love can cause discord"