Think of it this way: you can have an awkward conversation with your parents now and everyone can get more comfortable with the discussion and the topic, or you can launch into a screaming match when Mom and Dad are gone, the family is grieving and there are no parents around to soothe embattled siblings.
No matter how you look at it, this conversation will be uncomfortable. This is because it’s based on one ominous certainty: that the people we love are going to die.
The Guardian’s article, “Discussing inheritance is too important to be left until someone has died” reports that research from the Resolution Foundation showed that inheritable wealth for those currently aged 20-35 will double in the next 20 years—hitting an all-time peak in 2035.
However, the downside is that the average age at which most people will benefit is 61. The report also mentions that this huge transfer of wealth will further solidify societal inequality in our lifetimes. People usually marry those of a similar financial background. More than 80% of millennials who already own their home have parents who are homeowners. Compare that to 50% of non-home owning millennials who have parents who don’t own their homes.
For many individuals, this information won’t make much difference. The report stipulated that about 33% will have no property wealth to inherit, and those who do will discover that it arrives much too late to solve life’s biggest financial burdens, like the kids and the home mortgage.
Even so, it’s wise to discuss inheritance with your family, while the older generation is still living. This will decrease the risk of post-funeral family battles and establish definition and clarity regarding the parent’s wishes and plans. Yes, it’s awkward, but it’s the smart move.
Approaching the topic of money, family assets and death is a tough go for children, and if not handled well, or received well by parents, it can lead to some strain on the relationship. One way to start the conversation is by referring to research from sources like the Resolution Foundation. Better to try, rather than to wait until it is too late.
Reference: The Guardian (January 13, 2018) “Discussing inheritance is too important to be left until someone has died”