Knowing how much to share about estate planning can be challenging.
Your estate plan is complete.
The i’s are dotted.
The t’s are crossed.
All your documents are signed.
Reviewing your plan with your executor would be wise.
Should you talk to your adult children as well?
According to a recent CNBC article titled “What to tell your adult kids when planning your estate,” how much you share about your estate planning and with whom will be dependent on your family dynamics.
Your estate plan may trigger conflict among your children after you die if they are surprised by your choices.
You may have perfectly valid reasons for your decisions, but your children may not see things from your perspective if you do not share about estate planning goals and considerations.
Even if your choices were made for tax purposes, your family may take the plan personally.
Although talking with your adult children about your estate plan may seem daunting, this is far better than having no plan in place.
With no last will and testament in place, your assets may pass through probate via the laws of your state of residence.
This is known as dying intestate and having your assets pass by intestate succession.
It may be tempting to abdicate the distribution decision-making to the state.
However, do not go there.
Your decision to create an estate plan is the far better option.
When you die intestate, your affairs will be public record.
Family fighting could make the probate process longer, more complicated, and more expensive.
As you consider what to share about estate planning with your children, you should review the different aspects of an estate plan.
More is involved than simply the distribution of assets.
In fact, an estate plan also involves protecting you and your assets while you are alive.
This includes your Advance Healthcare Directive and General Durable Power of Attorney.
Whether you designate a family member or simply a friend you trust as an agent, you should talk to your children about your choices.
It can be quite upsetting to learn of a parent having a heart attack and then refusing to have certain treatments.
It is best to give your loved ones fair warning.
When you share about estate planning, you do not need to give every personal or financial detail.
Rather, you can simply share who you have designated to make decisions on your behalf so they know who is responsible.
If you choose to share in greater detail about your finances, you should consider the history of family dynamics.
Do your children get along?
Are there hard feelings or constant competition?
Do your children have rocky marriages or struggle with financial management?
All these are important things to consider when you are choosing what to tell your adult children.
Although there are certainly things you should share about estate planning, what you discuss is up to you.
Reference: CNBC (Nov. 11, 2020) “What to tell your adult kids when planning your estate”