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Should you consider including your family history in your will?

As baby boomers and their parents age in Maryland and across the U.S., studies show that they are less likely than ever to leave large money inheritances to their children in their will. A 2012 report by Allianz Life American Legacies in a Pulse Study discovered that 86 percent of baby boomers ages 47 to 66, and 74 percent of individuals over 72 years old are in agreement that a true legacy lies in the stories and history of a family, rather than in possessions and money that may be traditionally included in a will.

When asked about the importance of possessions, 64 percent of baby boomers felt that stories and family history are most important, and 58 percent of elders agree. In fact, fewer baby boomers -- 4 percent -- feel that their parents owe them a monetary inheritance.

A common factor agreed upon across the board was that financial inheritance is not something that is owed to individuals. The 14 percent of elders who feel that they owe their children money is down from 22 percent in 2005, potentially due to the concerns over elders being required to use more funds from savings as living expenses. This study did not address the children of baby boomers other than to state that nearly 50 percent of parents in this category have never taken the time to have a serious conversation with their children about inheritance considerations.

Maryland residents who are looking to draft a will may want to consider the potential effects of failing to communicate with their children about the expectations on both sides. Many children have high hopes of obtaining certain possessions, property or real estate, while others hope for a monetary sum. For parents, it may be beneficial to discuss these desires with children before beginning the estate planning or will drafting process to ensure that these issues do not become sources of tension and contest later.

Source: LifeHealthPro, "Boomers Aren't Interested in Leaving Money to Heirs," Paula Aven Gladych, May 24, 2012

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