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Study shows most want to leave inheritance, but few expect one

Michigan residents, like other people around the country, probably experience a range of emotions when they contemplate estate planning. Some of them probably prefer not to think about it because the thought of planning for one's death feels morbid. Others take the responsibility of estate planning very seriously, intent on leaving relatives--especially children, in many cases--an inheritance in their wills.

Many aging retirees still hope to leave an inheritance to their children. However, many of these retirees' children do not expect an inheritance. A study conducted recently at the University of Texas revealed that more than 86 percent of people aged 59 to 96 planned to leave an inheritance for thier children while only 44 percent of children aged 40 to 60 thought they would receive one. The article explained that two of the most common reasons cited for parents' leaving an inheritance to children are a sense of moral obligation and the desire to compensate or reward children who care for them prior to their deaths.

Regardless of whether leaving an inheritance to one's children is high on the list of priorities, wills can be invaluable in ensuring that a person's wishes are carried out after he or she passes away . Even when there may be little of value in a person's estate, much bickering can ensue among family members and relatives over who gets what. Carefully drafting a will in advance of one's death can help prevent these kinds of conflicts.

Wills can also be very useful for Michigan residents who wish to make charitable donations with some or all of their estate. Many nonprofit and charitable organizations are much in need of continued funding in today's economic climate and donating to a favorite charity in death can be a powerful way to leave a final positive mark.

Source: New York Times, "Parents, the Children Will Be Fine. Spend Their Inheritance Now.," Robert Neubecker, Sept. 19, 2014

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