Telling Your Children About Their Inheritance

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Many parents are unsure about what to tell their children about their inheritance for fear that their knowledge of even the most modest amount might cause them to be less productive adults.

Considering predictions that the baby boomer generation is going to inherit approximately $12 trillion from their parents, this is understandable. A 2010 study by MetLife determined that the median inheritance for two out of three baby boomers was approximately $64,000.

Parents who have considerable wealth are often reluctant to let their children know how much they stand to inherit out of fear that they may have no incentive to become employed and lead productive lives.

On the other hand, parents who do not have as much might be concerned that whatever they have accumulated will be used up for their own retirement and other needs. Under this scenario, children who had anticipated an inheritance would not receive anything.

In either situation, it is wise to at least discuss, in general terms, what you have or don’t have with your children. Tell them where your important documents are, and let them know who is to be your trustee or executor after you go.

This provides you with an opportunity to discuss family values and to tell them about your life. Studies have shown that children want to know about the struggles their parents have gone through and where they were raised. Share your life story with them and consider giving them something that has meant a lot to you for their safe keeping. It is also a good time to consider scheduling family vacations so that the entire family can get together or discuss plans for the holidays. By doing this, you will be instilling your belief in family values and traditions in your children.

Regardless of your financial situation, it is important that you have a durable power of attorney, health care documents and a trust or will established. The will is by far the most basic succession planning document and trusts are more flexible and advanced estate planning tools. The durable power of attorney allows you to appoint someone else to handle your financial affairs for you while you are alive and unavailable or incapacitated. Health care documents are living wills and a health care power of attorney.
These documents designate what type of care you want if you cannot make decisions for yourself or appoint someone to make them for you.


To get your various estate needs taken care of, you need to seek the advice of a Wisconsin lawyer experienced in handling a wide array of estate planning matters.

Daniel J. Krause with Krause Law Offices LLC, has helped thousands of Madison, Wisconsin area residents with their estate planning needs for over a decade. In addition to specializing in estate planning, wills, probate and trusts, our firm can also assist your family by preparing professional histories about your life for your children.

Contact us
through the website or call us direct at (608) 268-5751 for a free half hour estate planning consultation. For your convenience, we do make house calls for those that are unable to come to our offices.

Related Blog Posts:

Boomers Value Family Stories Over Inheritance
, Wisconsin Probate & Estate Planning Blog, November 14, 2012
What Is Probate And Why Should You Want To Avoid It?, Wisconsin Probate & Estate Planning Blog, November 26, 2012