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Parents and kids assume different things about inheritances

If you're a parent, do you assume that you need to leave money and other assets to your kids as an inheritance? This means leaving more than just your home and other assets you naturally control, but actively saving up money to leave to the kids.

If you're a child with aging parents, do you expect to get an inheritance? Are you counting on that money to help pay off the house or to give you a chance to retire early?

While it's easy to assume that both groups would say "yes" just as often, studies have found that's not the case. In fact, while parents typically do assume they should leave money behind, most kids don't expect to get anything.

One study asked parents who were anywhere from 59 years old to 96 years old, which is certainly old enough to consider these issues. A full 86.2 percent said they thought they'd leave money behind. That's a strong majority.

The study then turned to children who ranged in age from 40 years old to 60 years old. Merely 44.6 percent of them said they planned to get an inheritance.

Parents and kids were studied in pairings, so it was clear that expectations did not match up.

It's worth noting, though, that it's more common for kids who don't expect money to get it. In a mere 2.4 percent of the cases did children say they thought they'd get an inheritance while parents said they didn't think they'd leave one for them.

One thing this study shows is that parents and children don't always communicate about these issues. Be sure both sides understand their legal rights and have valid expectations when doing estate planning.

Source: New York Times, "Parents, the Children Will Be Fine. Spend Their Inheritance Now.," Ron Lieber, accessed Aug. 10, 2017

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