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Have you had 'the talk' with your heirs?

If you are someone with significant assets to pass down to your children or grandchildren, you might be reluctant to talk to your heirs about the inheritances they will be receiving.

People have many reasons for wanting to avoid the "inheritance talk" with their offspring, such as the belief that discussing an inheritance is taboo or not wanting their children or grandchildren to depend on the money; however, wealth experts say that this can be a costly mistake.

Often what happens is that when children or grandchildren are kept in the dark about inheritances they can be left overwhelmed and underprepared when the large inheritance suddenly comes. They may also be more likely to fight with other family members about the asset distribution.

On the other hand, heirs often end up more satisfied with what they have been left when they knew the details of their inheritances ahead of time, surveys have shown.

For example, a survey by UBS AG's wealth-management division found that when heirs knew what they were going to inherit ahead of time, 89 percent said they were satisfied with the planned distribution. However, only 65 percent of heirs who didn't know the details of their inheritances ahead of time were satisfied.

Finally, the UBS survey found that just 12 percent of heirs who knew the details of the planned distribution said they were likely to disagree with family over it, while 27 percent of those who didn't know the details said they were likely to disagree with family.

Of course, other factors can also come into play and affect the likelihood of heirs being dissatisfied or likely to disagree with family members, including when blended families and second marriages are involved.

No matter what your familial situation may be, it is wise to consider discussing inheritance plans with your children or grandchildren, perhaps with the assistance of your estate planning lawyer, who can do most of the talking if you wish.

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