Speaking openly with your children about the sensitive topics related to your estate planning and retirement plans can be difficult. After all, your estate plan is an intensively private matter. However, discussing these matters with your children may prevent confusion and resentment in the future. Over the next few articles, we will discuss six reasons why sharing your estate plan with your children may be a good idea. Here are reasons three and four:
- Avoiding Probate and Taxes. Children may often be confused or misinformed about how probate and inheritance taxes will work on your death. Children often believe that you can avoid probate by simply having a Last Will and Testament. After meeting with an elder law attorney, you can discuss probate issues with them. You will be able to explain the difference between a Will and Living Trust. You can explain the pros and cons of having a Living Trust and how assets will be distributed at the time of your death. Having this discussion may alleviate the stress of the unknown for your children.
- Explaining Your Intentions. Unless you only have one child or plan to distribute your assets equally amongst your children, it may be necessary to have a discussion to explain the motivation behind your decisions. You may make unequal distributions of property for many reasons (disabled children, caregiving children, so-called “sprendthift” children). Although these reasons may be sensitive, keeping your motivations behind unequal distributions a secret can often lead to unnecessary family discord.
Meet with a qualified elder law attorney first to discuss your different estate planning options. Once your estate plan is in place, it may be a good time to have “the talk” with your family.
In the next article, we will discuss two more reasons to open up about your estate plan: Long Term Care Planning and Organization.
To get started on your estate plan, give us a call today for an office or home-visit.