Legacy vs. Inheritance. Which is more important to your parents?

The Allianz American Legacies Study found that baby boomers and elders view the concepts of legacy and inheritance differently. According to the study, a true legacy is a combination of emotional and financial elements, while an inheritance is purely financial. The difference between an inheritance and a true legacy is clear and distinct, though the terms are used interchangeably and there is little evidence of an agreed way to approach either. Boomers indicate they prefer to preserve their parents’ memories than receive a financial inheritance, while elders believe their boomer children are more interested in money.

Elders are underestimating the importance of their non-financial legacy to their children. They mistakenly think financial assets and real estate are more important to their children.

39% of elders say it’s very important to pass along their financial assets or real estate to their children, while only 10% of boomers see that as a priority.
Boomers think knowing their parents’ future wishes are the most important part of their parents’ legacy.

65% of boomers say it’s very important that they receive instruction on how their parents’ wishes (about their family/death/estate) should be fulfilled.
35% of elders say it’s their obligation to leave an inheritance to their children. 17% of elders feel their children are counting on an inheritance, but only 4% of boomers are. 22% of elders with children feel they owe their children an inheritance, but only 3% of boomers feel the same.

Have you had a conversation with your parents regarding the legacy they want to leave behind? Have you asked them how they want to be remebered? Are there traditions and family practices they want continued? Are their personal items that they cherish and want passed on to certain members of the family?  Are their certain charities or religious organizations that they want to be remembered by? You can open the conversation by asking your mom or dad, “How do you want the family to remembr4 you after you are gone? Then just sit back and listen.

For more information on The Allianz American Legacies Study, visit http://www.allianzlife.com or contact Neil Grace at (202) 530- 4558, Neil Grace@was.bm.com.

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