Boomers Value Family Stories Over Inheritance

According to a survey conducted by the Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America, baby boomers prefer to have family stories and life lessons over an inheritance. The survey was conducted among boomers aged 47 to 66 and their elders over the age of 72, regarding their feelings about inheritance. Members of both groups felt that an inheritance was not something owed to a child. For boomers, 86% of them felt that family stories are the most important part of their legacy. For those over 72 years of age, 74% agreed. There was a similar finding, 64% of boomers and 58% of elders, ranking family stories ahead of personal possessions.

Katie Libbe, Vice President of Consumer Insights for Allianz, said that “people are more interested in the stories and family values of their ancestors.” She went on to say that people value knowing “where they came from” and what struggles their parents have gone through. Ironically, this seemingly less materialistic generation of baby boomers is in line for a huge transfer of wealth, notwithstanding the housing market debacle and the recession.

A MetLife study commissioned in 2010 revealed that $64,000 was the median inheritance for two out of three boomers. It further concluded that there will be an intergenerational transfer of wealth totaling $11.6 trillion, including over $2 trillion that has already been gifted.

Krause Law Offices LLC can help you have personal histories written by professionals as part of your estate planning. Surprisingly affordable, these books of your life can be the most treasured thing you pass on.

If you would like to gather your history, we have some tips. In order to satisfy the boomers’ desire for stories, history and photos documenting family traditions, there are several ways to accomplish this:

• Sit down with your parents or grandparents and record conversations about their childhood, their own parents, growing up, schooling, getting married, raising children and their careers.

• Try and get your parents to label all of the photographs stored in boxes or drawers and give approximate dates for the events.

• Use the internet to research the family history, or have some family member provide information to create a family tree showing marriages, births and deaths.

• Preserve any handwritten letters from your parents or grandparents. These will become more and more special as handwritten letters become extinct.

• Discuss the whereabouts of wills and other important documents, in addition to health care directives and other life ending decisions.

The Allianz study showed that elders are considerably more prepared with their estate planning needs than their children. Some 79% have completed their estate planning or have talked to their children about their wishes. Unfortunately, only around 50% of all boomers have considered estate planning or discussed inheritance issues with their children.

Estate planning is something that needs to be addressed by baby boomers and others alike, who have not yet addressed their legacy. If you have not taken appropriate steps to transfer your wealth from one generation to another, you need to seek advice from a Wisconsin attorney experienced in estate planning.

Krause Law Offices LLC is a Madison, Wisconsin law office that has helped clients throughout the state with their estate planning needs for over a decade.

Contact us through our website or (608) 268-5751 for a no obligation estate planning consultation.

Other Resources:

Legacy: For Baby Boomers, Family Stories Trump Cash, Survey Says , The Huffington Post, May 23, 2012

Despite financial stresses, many boomers say legacy is more vital than wealth, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Article by Tim Grant, June 12, 2012