Parents putting together or revising their estate plans often wonder if they should share details of their estate plans with their adult children.
Often, children are the beneficiaries or among the beneficiaries of their parents’ estate, so it seems natural to let them know what they will be entitled to. However, it can be a difficult conversation for parents, which is why parents often delay or avoid it altogether.
Every family is different, and every parent-child dynamic differs from any other. Parents should decide on a case-by-case basis. However, involving your adult children in your estate planning, whether it is by informing them what you have decided or by making them part of the decision-making process, can be valuable for both the parents and the children.
Benefits of communicating your estate plans with your children
There are benefits associated with communicating your plans to your children, particularly avoiding any confusion and giving them the opportunity to ask questions while you can still answer them. In addition, communicating with your adult children:
- Ensures that they understand how you want them to care for you when you can no longer make decisions for yourself.
- Clears up any ambiguity about who the executor is and who is getting what and opens the lines of communication for questions.
Aging parents sometimes fear divulging this information will create quarrels between siblings or potentially create an assortment of problems by sharing their financial information with their kids, who may or may not have their parents’ best interests at heart.
Talking about your estate planning with your children may feel uncomfortable and that is normal. However, there are benefits to consider when making that decision, including ensuring that your children respect your wishes and follow your will.