When it comes to estate planning or drawing up a will, one of the pillars of successfully organizing these things is to address the issue early and often. You want to bring in financial and legal advisors to adequately draw up documents and organize your estate; that way, the assets will go to the places you want them to go, instead of being dispersed in ways you wouldn’t want them to.
However, there is another crucial element to planning your estate that may seem obvious, but is often ignored (by choice or just by circumstance): communication with your heirs, especially your children.
Money is a tough thing to talk about: but when it is the family money that, presumably, will stay in the family (if only partially), then it needs to be discussed.
If you are a parent who has kids and you are drawing up estate documents, it could benefit everyone involved to discuss the estate. Your kids may bring up important issues or points that you take into consideration when drawing up inheritance provisions.
If you are a kid who expects to be an heir, but you haven’t had any discussions with your parents about it, and then delicately approach the situation by having a civil discussion about the family estate.
These talks truly can benefit both parties. Maybe the kids bring up a point that the parent did not think about while crafting his or her will; and thanks to that input, the parent can appropriately address the issue in his or her will. On the other hand, the parent can disclose some important information to their kids about their inheritance; that way, their kids do not get an inflated idea of what their inheritance will be.
Source: Kansas City Star, “Kids and Money: If you plan to leave an inheritance, manage expectations,” Steve Rosen, Oct. 14, 2013