Should parents leave an inheritance to their children?

Many Florida parents may be wondering if they should leave an inheritance to their children. Whether parents are wealthy or not, the decision is always a personal one that reflects their financial situations, family values and other factors. There is no right or wrong answer. However, several survey results reflect a similar trend; that is, parents and their children may not agree to expectations and ideas, which could cause problems in the future.

According to a survey on, 25 percent of respondents between the ages of 18 and 59 expect to receive an inheritance. Most said that they intended to use the money to pay down debt and increase their retirement funds. According to a survey released in 2012, 33 percent of baby boomers with significant assets planned to give their money to charity instead of leaving it to their children in a will or trust. People are also worried about living longer, and parents are worried that health care costs would deplete their savings. In addition, many are afraid that their children will spend their inheritances irresponsibly.

Experts suggest communication is the best tool as far as inheritance is concerned. Parents need to let children know what they can expect as well as share their wishes with them. Many suggest beginning such discussions when children are still in school, so they understand the values important to their parents, such as charitable giving and saving.

Florida residents could have questions regarding estate planning; however, they may not know where to start. A probate and estate administration attorney may be able to help people understand estate planning strategies, and, based upon their wishes, provide options as to the manner in which they should proceed.

Source: Sacramento Bee, "Kids and Money: If you plan to leave an inheritance, manage expectations", Steve Rosen, October 14, 2013

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