Estate planning is a sensitive matter. In addition to stating your wishes and following the required legal steps, you may need to talk to your children about your estate plan. But how can you approach this matter?
Here are three tips to help you:
1. Determine age-appropriate subjects
You can have estate planning discussions with your children at any age, provided they are old enough to understand. When they are young, you can inform them about basic financial planning principles, including saving, spending habits (budgeting), managing debt and investing.
When they are older, you can discuss crucial matters like how you would wish the family legacy to continue. This may also be the time to discuss advance directives, power of attorney and other documents. You may also inform your kids about who you’ve appointed as the executor.
2. Ensure everyone is present
It may be best to have the estate planning conversation with all your children present. Doing this ensures they all receive the same information. Besides, this can protect your will from being contested on the grounds of undue influence.
3. Explain things that could cause confusion
You don’t need to talk to your children about who gets what. However, in some instances, especially when the inheritance is not divided equally, perhaps one of your kids has a disability, hence they need more support, it may be best to discuss what’s in your plan.
It may also help to explain your choices. For instance, if you have decided to donate some of your money to charity, you can inform your family about this, especially if you have a particular foundation in mind.
Communicating with your kids about your estate plan can make your work more manageable. It will also help to get legal guidance to validate your wishes.