BENEFICIARIES GET HIT WITH BIG HEADACHE

By Sandra Block, USA TODAY

Trusts BeneficiaryIn the Charles Dickens classic; Bleak House, a dispute over a will drags on for decades, leaving a legacy of wasted lives. One Character shoots himself; another explodes. When the estate is finally settled, the entire fortune has been consumed in legal fees!!

The novel was written almost 150 years ago. But to many “baby boomers” the story is alarmingly contemporary, minus the powdered wigs and the spontaneous combustion.

During the next 20 years, baby boomers will inherit a bewildering array of stocks, bonds, mutual funds, IRAs, retirement accounts, real estate and personal property. Untangling the estates will require an army of financial planners, lawyers, accountants and family therapists.

About 150 Billion dollars is expected to change hands in 2002 alone. And, according to a Cornell University study, boomers are expected to inherit more than 10 Trillion Dollars from their parents by 2040!!

The study further discovered that most people are ill prepared for the wave of money, property, and problems that are headed their way.

As estates grow larger and more complex, baby boomers will have to grapple with a problem once confined to the very rich; death then taxes.

Bottom line, most people are not prepared for the future because of either a lack of any kind of estate and personal planning; or, the plan they have is inadequate.