Parents often hesitate when sharing the details of their estate planning with their adult children. Historically, parents have done this to avoid hurting their children’s feelings, avoiding requests for money now and, naturally, the difficulty of thinking of end-of-life decisions.
Every family is different, and within each family, each member has their own personality and way of reacting to this type of conversation. It is understandable for parents to be reluctant to have these conversations.
However, there are numerous benefits in communicating with your children about your estate planning. For example, making your estate plan more secure. In addition:
- Avoiding confusion or ambiguity when you are no longer here to clarify any questions
- Telling your children exactly how they should manage your care
- Opening the lines of communication between your children and clearing up any questions about your estate
Conversely, keeping information about your estate planning from your children can be dangerous and create problems for you and your family. Common issues that adult children face when their parents do not share details of their estate plans include:
- Not knowing how mom or dad want to be cared for when they cannot do so
- Questions about the language in your will and estate planning documents
- The identity, intentions and motivations of the executor
- Quarrels between siblings about the division of assets
Having these conversations may seem unnecessary, but these issues pop up often. You can ask your estate planning legal specialist to explain these benefits in more detail because they see these cases in court all the time. It is not unusual for adult children to end up in court over disagreements in their parents’ estate plans.
In estate planning, the priority is you. Ensuring that your wishes are respected and that you make decisions while you are still able to make them is critical and worth the discomfort of having an estate planning conversation with your adult children.