More than a decade into the intergenerational transfer of the $10.4 trillion that in 1993 Cornell economists Robert Avery and Michael Rendall forecasted would pass from one generation to the next between 1990 and 2040, financial planners and wealth counselors are detecting a subtle trend. Americans are more willing to talk about their finances, and the rich, in particular, are interested in planners who can help both them and their offspring.

"The taboo of talking about sex was lifted in the 60s. In the 70s and 80s, the taboo of talking about death seemed to go away. In the 90s and the first bit of 21st century, we are loosening up and more able to talk about money," said Dennis Pearne, Ph.D., a wealth counselor in Natick, Mass. "The door's open for frank discussions about estate planning."

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