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Inheritances: deciding who gets what can be a challenge

There was a time when deciding who would receive your worldly possessions was a relatively simple task. More often than not, the eldest son would be the heir to the family fortune and the story would end there. Those days have long passed, though and the topic of beneficiaries, especially over the last couple of generations, has become a great debate for Californians.

Should parents leave anything to their children? If so, how much should be given? Is an inheritance a blessing or a curse for your offspring?

More and more people are falling into the latter camp. In fact, according to a recent survey, 54 percent of the baby boomer generation said they feel it’s not important to leave their inheritance to loved ones.

There are several explanations for this new attitude. Many feel they’ve earned the money and they don’t wish to give it to anyone who would squander it. Others want to spend everything they have in their retirement.

Oftentimes, people neglect choosing a beneficiary because they don’t have family or anyone close to them. That doesn’t mean they can’t preserve their legacy, though. Finding a charitable cause you believe in can be a great way to make sure your wealth lives on in meaningful ways.

Regardless of where you stand on the argument, one thing is for sure: not making some kind of arrangement is a surefire way to leave a mess behind for your family. Consulting with a California attorney who specializes in estate planning and living wills is an invaluable step in ensuring your wishes are carried out. In fact, working with a specialist may even augment the amount you can leave behind and help decrease the government’s cut.

Source:, “What Kind Of Inheritance Do You Owe Your Kids?,” Bart Astor, April 19, 2014

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