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Millennials and their parents should talk about inheritance

According to a survey by Natixis, almost 70 percent of Millennials and other young people have an expectation that their parents will leave them an inheritance, but just 40 percent of parents plan to leave anything to their kids. Part of the disparity may stem from a simple lack of conversation and planning. Tennessee parents and their children may both approach the topic timorously, as it revolves around death. For all parties involved, though, it is important to have these discussions earlier rather than later.

For young people who want to initiate the talk, it's important not to have expectations. It may be that their parents intend to spend down to zero during retirement, and they should not be shocked at that. A good way to break the ice is to simply ask whether the parents have a plan in place to carry out their wishes after their passing.

The important part for the children is how a potential inheritance might affect future planning. It's a good idea to avoid specific numbers and to determine if the parents have a will, trust, life insurance policy or other estate planning tools in place. This is also a good opportunity for young people to solicit advice about estate planning from their parents. For individuals who don't want to get into a heavy formal discussion, it can be easier to start simply, over a meal or when the timing feels right.

This is an important family issue and is likely to require more than one conversation, especially as the financial circumstances of the parties change over time. An attorney with experience in estate planning might be able to help by recommending legal instruments to carry out the parents' wishes.

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