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Leaving an inheritance to ones heirs

Baby boomers will be leaving over $30 trillion to their offspring over the next 30 to 40 years. That's an incredible amount of money that will be passed down to the next generation. How can people in Washington ensure that they are passing down this money to their heirs properly? There are certain things to keep in mind when it comes to estate planning.

First, make sure your children know in general what they will be receiving. Let the kids know where they stand financially and that things can change based on medical costs and other factors. The children should know where important papers are kept and whom they should contact upon your death.

Next, in order to minimize the fighting among siblings, it may be a good idea to distribute assets equally among them. Even if there are good intentions among leaving different amounts to each one it can still lead to hurt feelings. Another idea is to distribute the assets yourself. If you want the kids to inherit equally, each one should be listed as beneficiaries. Property and other assets, such as jewelry and other valuables should be listed with who gets what. Finally, if you're worried about your kids using the money wisely, a trust can help distribute the money in increments.

Estate planning can lead to a smooth transition after your death. When all the heirs know where they stand there will be less fighting and fewer hurt feelings. There will always be disagreements between siblings but having a will and trust can help minimize the issues that arise.

Source:, "How to leave an inheritance to your kids", Jean Chatzky, April 24, 2013

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