Differing ideas about the meaning of inheritances

One error some New Jersey residents make with their estate plans is believing that inheritances are expressions of love. Taking this approach can lead to familial conflict, and people may be better off talking about their intentions with their family members to find out how they might best pass their assets.

According to Merrill Lynch, about 70 percent of people in the baby boomer generation believe that giving money to their intended beneficiaries is a way to express the love they feel for them. Because of this, many baby boomers believe that they should give equal shares of their assets to their beneficiaries because they don't want one to feel less loved than another.

The millennial generation, by contrast, takes a different view of inheritances. Many people millennials instead believe inheritances should be more nuanced, taking into account such things as financial need and other matters. They also tend to view gifts of money from their parents as attempts to control their choices. It might be smart for people who are older to discuss their estate plans with their families in order to find out the ideas their beneficiaries hold about inheritances. This can help to avoid conflicts that might otherwise spring up.

Good estate planning may include multiple decisions and documents. When people take the time to think things through carefully and thoroughly, they may be able to pass their assets in a way that best meets their families' needs. In addition to wills and trusts, people may want to have other documents in place, such as powers of attorney. These can be used to designate another person who will be able to make important financial and health care decisions if a principal becomes incapacitated and incapable of making them.

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