No matter how you look at it, discussing your parents’ estate plan is an uncomfortable conversation. This is because it is based on one certainty we all like to ignore: the people we love are going to die. Yet, no matter how much we dislike the idea of having this conversation, it is something that must be done. Having it will ensure that there is a solid plan, difficult issues are addressed, and you are comfortable with following through on your parents’ wishes.
The Guardian’s article, “Discussing inheritance is too important to be left until someone has died” reports that research from the Resolution Foundation showed that inheritable wealth for those currently aged 20-35 will double in the next 20 years—hitting an all-time peak in 2035.
However, the downside is that the average age at which most people will benefit is 61. The report also mentions that this huge transfer of wealth will further solidify societal inequality in our lifetimes. People usually marry those of a similar financial background. More than 80% of millennials who already own their home have parents who are homeowners. Compare that to 50% of non-home owning millennials who have parents who don’t own their homes.
For many individuals, this information won’t make much difference. The report stipulated that about 33% will have no property wealth to inherit, and those who do will discover that it arrives much too late to solve life’s biggest financial burdens, like kids and the home mortgage.
Even so, it is wise to discuss inheritance with your family while the older generation is still living. This will decrease the risk of post-funeral family misunderstandings and establish definition and clarity regarding the parent’s wishes and plans. Yes, it is unpleasant to think about, but it’s the smart move.
Approaching the topic of money, family assets and death is a tough for children, and if not handled well, or received well by parents, it can lead to some strain on the relationship. One way to start the conversation is by gently broaching the subject with the goal of holistic family wellbeing. Another step is to refer to research from sources like the Resolution Foundation or from estate planning firms. Better to try to get the conversation started now rather than wait until it is too late.
At Family Estate Law Planning Group, we encourage clients to use our unique approach and have a Family Meeting. This ensures everyone is on the same page, feels comfortable with the plan, and makes sure any questions are answered and any confusion is cleared up.
For more information on the Family Meeting and how we can help you with planning your estate and carrying out the, “what happens when I die” discussion, visit our website today to schedule your consultation!
Reference: The Guardian (January 13, 2018) “Discussing inheritance is too important to be left until someone has died”