The parents of baby boomers have reached an advanced age. The children of the World War II generation are baby boomers. Members of the country's largest-ever generation were born between 1946 and 1964, which means some Los Angeles boomers are already grandparents living in retirement.
The boomer generation is becoming aware of the importance of estate planning through the deaths of their parents. Unfortunate but unavoidable mortality forces boomers to consider what they want to leave behind for heirs and beneficiaries in a will or trust.
Some strategies boomers use to create or update estate plans will depend on experiences they have or had as heirs. For example, the boomer heir of a parent who dies intestate - without a will - may be forced into a probate battle with family members. No one wants someone they love to have that asset-depleting, energy-exhausting experience.
Boomers may be less likely to hold back on sharing estate planning information than their parents were. A person unpleasantly surprised by a parent's final wishes is likely to make sure his own children are not shaken up when they become heirs. Most people do not want estate plan aftershocks like the sudden job of a fiduciary.
Children of boomers should ask parents about eventual financial wishes. Estate planning attorneys recommend approaching the subject from a viewpoint that benefits parents. Asking about the existence and location of a will is not greedy. The knowledge is helpful to people assigned to distribute the parents' assets.
Discuss parental incapacity; it's a common situation for aging parents. Adult children must be aware of parents' health and financial choices, in case the day comes when parents are incapable of making those decisions.
Estate planning issues are sensitive. Sometimes the best generation-to-generation inheritance discussions are in the presence of a legal adviser, who can make the interchange comfortable and productive for both sides.
Source: mainstreet.com, "Estate Planning for the Echo-Boom Generations" Steven Orlowski, Aug. 19, 2013