The value of talking it over

When it comes to estates, the message many parents send their children is: "I don't want it, you can have it."

As it turns out, children are echoing those remarks.

A recent survey of more than 600 Americans over age 35 by Minneapolis-based investment firm US Bancorp Piper Jaffray shows a vast disparity between how baby boomers and their parents view inheritance.

Nearly half (43.4 percent) of those 55 and older said they are frugal now so that they can leave money to their children. On the flip side, an even greater percentage of baby boomers, 78.6 percent, said they would prefer that their parents enjoy their wealth, rather than squirrel it away for family heirs. With many boomers faring well in this vibrant economy, perhaps they don't need it.

But Piper Jaffray suggests the disparity may stem from simple lack of communication. Nearly half (48.2 percent) of baby boomers surveyed said they have not spoken with their parents about estate planning.

The survey also found that 41.2 percent of those 35 and older do not have a will.

The investment firm cautions it doesn't matter if you have $100,000 or $100 million in assets - up to 50 percent can go toward taxes if no estate planning is done.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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