Telling Your Kids What’s In Your Will

Should You Tell Your Children What’s In Your Estate?

parents talking to adult daughterMost of us don’t like to contemplate our own deaths, a factor that many lawyers and estate planners say keeps people from taking measures to protect themselves and their heirs. But even if you have put an effective estate plan in place, you may be reluctant to discuss the details with your children or other potential beneficiaries. Experts, though, assert that it’s in the best interests of everyone involved to have open and candid discussions about the extent of the estate and how it will be divided—before you die.

If Your Kids Know You, They’ll Know What to Expect

Your estate plan is typically an extension or manifestation of your lifelong philosophy and practices involving material goods. If you’ve been close to your children, they will have a strong sense of your inclinations, and generally won’t be surprised by your estate planning decisions. If, however, you intend that your estate not be divided equally among children or similarly situated heirs, it’s best that you communicate that decision immediately, and probably best to discuss your decision separately with each beneficiary. Talking to them now may avoid conflict and hurt feelings when your estate is divided.

Don’t Create False Expectations

If your children expect a certain amount of inheritance, but you intend to give all or a significant portion of your estate to charity, or to some other beneficiary, it’s best to tell your children now, so that they don’t resent you after your death.

Conversely, if your children are unaware of the full extent of your estate, you should let them know what they are in for. If they don’t have experience managing a large net worth, it can be a great source of anxiety for them. Telling them in advance can help them develop skills or foster a relationship with someone who can manage their inheritance.

Contact Aronberg, Kouser, Snyder & Lindemann, P. A., Attorneys at Law

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