People have different views about whether the holidays are a good time to discuss estate planning with your family. For many families, it’s the only time they’re all together. That can make it the best time to have an important conversation that should include everyone.
On the other hand, some people are afraid they’ll put a damper on the holidays with talk of money and eventual death or incapacitation. However, whoever is initiating the conversation broaches the subject respectfully and does some preparation regarding what they want to say, an estate planning conversation can bring a family closer together.
How much should parents tell their kids about their estate plan?
If you’re a parent who has already initiated or maybe completed your estate plan, it’s typically wise to give your adult children some idea of what’s in it and whom you’ve chosen as your executor, trustees and other administrators. You may want to give your kids a chance to weigh in any particular assets they want – or don’t want.
You don’t need to give them specific dollar amounts for inheritances. You likely don’t even know what those will be if you have may have plenty of good years ahead of you. However, remember that your kids should have some idea of what they’re getting so that they can better plan their own financial future.
This is a good time to talk with your kids not just about what you’re leaving them in assets but what kind of legacy you want to leave them. Do you hope that they’ll use their inheritance to give their own kids a good education or to continue giving to worthy organizations?
If you’ve made any decisions that you believe one or more of your kids may have a problem with, explain your reasoning. These might be conversations you’d rather not have, but at least they’ll know that they’re your decisions and no one is pressuring you into them.
It’s also helpful to give your kids the names and contact information of your legal and financial advisors so that they can contact them for guidance if they need to. Once you’ve had this discussion, you can get back to celebrating the holidays.