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Do Michigan residents feel obligated to leave an inheritance?

Readers in the Detroit area may be interested in a recent survey showing that just 19 percent of baby boomers feel obligated to leave their children an inheritance. But this percentage is higher than in 2005, prior to the nation's crushing economic downturn, when just 3 percent of baby boomers reported feeling obligated to pass on estate assets to heirs.

Interestingly, the same survey revealed that only 14 percent of responders over the age of 72 felt compelled to leave an inheritance. This number is actually down from 22 percent in 2005.

While it is certainly a laudable goal, leaving an inheritance can require some careful estate planning. It is generally recommended that all estate planners should have a will, no matter what their age or financial situation. But a comprehensive estate plan details more than just financial arrangements, and provisions for an inheritance may make up only one part of a good plan.

When Michigan residents look ahead to retirement, as many baby boomers are doing these days, an estate plan is generally a good starting point. Through the estate planning process, individuals or couples will be able to view at their entire financial situation and better account for possible eventualities, including long-term care and medical expenses.

It is also important to factor in retirement income, such as Social Security and 401(k) plans, to create a well-rounded picture of what retirement will look like. A carefully conceived estate plan can ensure that there are funds, assets or personal property left over to include in an inheritance.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Keep estate planning in your retirement mix," Janet Kidd Stewart, June 8, 2012

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