To Pass Wealth to Heirs

This is more difficult than ever before, because living longer means it is increasingly likely that you will spend your money before you have the chance to bequeath it. It started with our immigrant ancestors, who built homes and had children. When the children married, they moved into the house with Mom and Dad. Then the kids had kids, making it three generations in one house. As the family grew larger, each generation built new rooms, increasing the size — and value — of the family's wealth. When the first generation died, the second generation inherited the house, later passing it to the next generation, with each growing more affluent than the previous one. That doesn't happen today. When our grandparents die, we're more likely to sell their house because we have our own home and don't need theirs. Furthermore, we find that our grandparents live so much longer than before — longer than they expected — that they often run out of assets and have nothing to leave to their children.

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