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Why It's Important to Talk About Inheriting Wealth

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(NewsUSA) - As a significant portion of the U.S. population ages, a significant transfer of wealth to younger generations is occurring. However, many families have not discussed inheritance plans, and many younger generations may find themselves unprepared, according to new research from Edward Jones, a leading financial services firm.

In fact, 35% of Americans surveyed by Edward Jones said they did not plan to discuss transfer of wealth with their families, despite 48% saying that they planned to leave an inheritance.

“We know it can be extremely uncomfortable and nearly impossible to separate emotions from the financial decisions necessary when planning inheritance and wealth transfer, particularly as givers navigate family priorities beyond finances,” said Lena Haas, Head of Wealth Management Advice and Solutions at Edward Jones. “However, the wealth transfer is well underway, so it’s more important than ever to connect as a family, with the experienced guidance of a financial professional to help navigate the emotions and educate on the process.”

The so-called “great wealth transfer” from the Silent Generation and the Baby Boomers will vary, as people live longer and may delay retirement. Edward Jones’ research revealed four scenarios:

Traditional Giving. Older adults transfer wealth through a combination of assets, cash, equities, and real estate.

Giving While Living. Older adults support their families in the moment, paying for family experiences, contributing to education or purchasing homes. However, this strategy may force younger generations to return the favor and support parents in retirement.

Skipping a Generation. Some older adults skip over their adult children and transfer wealth to grandchildren, often in the form of education or future security, but this can lead to hurt feelings and strained relations with adult children who do not directly benefit from this wealth transfer.

No Inheritance. Older adults are living longer, and a combination of more active lifestyles for more years after retirement and/or the expenses of long-term health care means that in some families, little wealth will be left to transfer.

The survey, a joint effort between Edward Jones, Morning Consult and NEXT360 Partners, LLC, a global action research and strategy consultancy, was conducted online between December 28-29, 2023, and included a national sample of 2,202 adults.

According to the survey, only 25% of individuals who receive an inheritance feel prepared to manage it.

Working with an experienced advisor can help, and 57% of those surveyed said that working with a financial professional to guide discussions of wealth transfer and inheritance in advance would facilitate planning and family consensus.

Visit www.edwardjones.com/estateplanning for more information about wealth transfer and financial planning.