Baby boomers, America's wealthiest generation, are starting to pass on their nest eggs to children and grandchildren—years before anyone anticipated.

According to financial planners, there's a surge in older, wealthier clients opting to gift substantial sums to their millennial children now, rather than waiting to leave an inheritance.

"We consider inheritances and money from families a gift of love," says Gideon Drucker, president and financial planner at Drucker Wealth.

"If your intention is to give that money to family as an inheritance, you probably want that money put to best use for the maximum amount of time that creates the most peace of mind for everybody involved."

This early gifting strategy could mark the start of a long-anticipated "great wealth transfer," the intergenerational hand-off of an estimated $90 trillion from boomers to their heirs in the coming decades.

With the oldest boomers now in their mid-70s, it was long assumed the bulk of that transfer would happen through traditional end-of-life inheritances.

Not anymore.

It seems that boomers don’t want their kids to become "geriatric millionaires," a term used to describe people inheriting wealth only after they've retired. The average age of American millionaires right now is 61.

Sophia Bera Daigle, another financial planner, notes that more of her millennial clients are receiving chunks of money from their parents as a kind of proactive inheritance.

This often comes in the form of monthly or yearly cash gifts, payments for grandchildren's private schooling, or, most commonly, large sums for down payments on homes.

Are millennials ready for the Great Wealth Transfer?

Following the pandemic, boomers accounted for the majority of wealth in America—owning nearly 42% of all real estate as well as a sizable chunk of stocks and mutual funds.

Millennials, meanwhile, got the short end of the stick.

They face unprecedented financial headwinds, including stagnant wages, sky-high housing and education costs, and the lingering effects of two recessions. As a result, millennials have accrued far less wealth than their parents did at the same age.

That could be why baby boomers are looking to give their children a leg up with early inheritances.

However, some experts worry millennials may lack the financial savvy to make the most of their newfound wealth when it finally does arrive at their doorstep.

"The millennials are very ill-prepared... they're not as well prepared as the wealth-creating generation," warns Salvatore Buscemi of Brahmin Partners.“They don’t have the skill sets earlier on to be able to do that because they never had to—they were never pushed.”

Financial experts stress that parents must secure their own financial future before gifting large sums. There are also annual limits on tax-free gifts: currently $18,000 for an individual or $36,000 for a couple.