Baby Boomer Retirees’ Inheritance Requires Careful Thinking

For those retirees who had not planned on receiving an inheritance or are happily surprised at the amount they receive, it’s time to reassess your retirement goals and needs. Certainly this newfound money allows you to enhance your standard of living, but it also gives you the ability to accomplish other retirement goals.

Some people are just too young to be receiving inheritances. After all, a young person might not know what to do with it. Of course, young inheritors are not the only ones who cannot handle a sudden inheritance. Can you say “baby boomers”?

The baby boomer generation is set to receive unprecedented inheritances in the coming years. Do baby boomers and retirees know what to do with their inheritances? Not always, but there is time to learn.

The subject of inheritance in retirement was considered in a recent MarketWatch article titled “When retirees inherit; tips for newfound wealth.” The article provides some basic pointers to get you started.

For the most part, this issue is simply a case of social reversal. Historically, retirees and inheritors have historically held very separate roles. Retirees planned inheritances for their heirs, but they were not themselves heirs!

With age and population groups moving through time as they are today, baby boomers are about to receive the greatest generational wealth transfer in recent history.  Some estimate this transfer at $27 Trillion dollars.   The essential nugget of wisdom to glean from the original article, however, is, if you are the recipient of an inheritance, force yourself to a calm moment and careful planning.

Retirees have less time to make the best of an inheritance. Nevertheless, many retirees are facing some very difficult financial decisions themselves. Long-term care and future health care costs are good for starters.  The receipt of inheritance could effect your eligibility for Medicare and other government benefits.  Qualification for Medicaid in Utah is limited to those having $2,000 in assets and $2,000 per month in income.  Using the inheritance correctly and wisely is the key.

So, if you are only holding the inheritance for a short time yourself, what does that mean for your existing estate plans? This unprecedented wealth transfer has the potential to be a blessing or a curse. Are you ready?

Reference: MarketWatch (July 16, 2013) “When retirees inherit; tips for newfound wealth

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