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Should Parents Spend Their Children’s Inheritance?

Family Walking In The ParkWe once told you about parents that decided to spend their children’s inheritance to prevent them from arguing over it. The New York Times (NYT) also thinks parents should reconsider leaving their children an inheritance, not to avoid arguments, but to ensure that parents can enjoy their golden years since they don’t know how long they will live. The idea put forth in “Parents, the Children Will Be Fine. Spend Their Inheritance Now,” is that it would be, “Far better to spend their retirement money in the present on making meaningful memories with family members or on top-notch care that can help make aging more comfortable and graceful…”

The article cites a study that appeared in The Gerentologist to illustrate the disconnect between parents and children on the matter of inheritance. Many parents feel obligated to leave their children an inheritance while their children are not necessarily expecting to get one. Some families avoid discussions about estate planning. Other parents, concerned about the shaky economy, want to leave their children something even if their children indicate that they are okay with not receiving an inheritance. The NYT suggests being honest with your parents if you would rather they not concern themselves with leaving you an inheritance. It is possible they may disregard this and still leave you something but your honesty may get them to think about leaving less or pave the way for other honest conversations.

While some adult children who would like for their parents to not worry about saving money in order to leave them something, there are also adult children who would be upset not to get an inheritance. The article observes that children who continue to receive financial assistance from parents as adults may expect their parents to leave them money.

Estate planning decisions are up to you but you can consult with a Fee-Only financial planner to get advice on setting inheritance money aside should you choose to do so.