Naperville Estate Planning Attorney on Discussing Your Estate Plans with Your Adult Children
As an estate planning lawyer with over 40 years of experience, I am still surprised by the number of people who do not have a last will and testament or any other type of estate plans. Estate planning allows you to make your own decisions about how your hard-earned wealth and important family heirlooms are distributed to heirs instead leaving those decisions to the state. Even more importantly, dying without at least some type of estate planning instrument in place—called dying “intestate”—can put a serious burden on surviving loved ones.
It is completely understandable that many people are intimidated by the prospect of facing their own mortality, however, estate planning is an important step that everyone should take. If you have decided to create an estate plan, you may be wondering how you should share your plans with your adult children. Conversations about inheritance, living wills, and powers of attorney can sometimes be uncomfortable, but the following tips may help.
Meet With All of Your Children Face-to-Face If Possible
Sibling rivalry does not necessarily end once the siblings become adults. If you have more than one child, it may be best to discuss estate plans with them all at once. Sitting down as a group can reduce the chances that one child feels out of the loop. Although it is not always possible, having this discussion face-to-face can help your children feel better about the tough subject matter rather than having conversation on the phone or through email.
Plan What You Want to Say in Advance
Before you sit down with your adult children to discuss your estate plans, plan what your objectives are for the conversation. Your main goal may be to ensure that your children are not surprised by the amount of inheritance they will receive. Another objective may be to make sure that your children know where important documents and passwords are located or to identify who will be the executor of your estate. Identifying your goals ahead of time can help you stay focused on your priorities and keep you from going off-topic during the discussion.
Remember That You Do Not Have to Justify Your Choices
It is possible that your children will not be thrilled by some of the estate planning decisions you have made. Perhaps you have decided to leave a greater inheritance to one of your children because he or she has children of his or her own. Maybe you have decided to leave a significant portion of your savings to charity. Whatever your decisions, it is important to remember that they are your decisions to make. You do not have to justify yourself. If your children get upset, give them a chance to cool off, and then gently remind them that you are doing what you believe is best for everyone involved.
Contact a DuPage County Estate Planning Lawyer
For estate planning guidance from an accomplished Naperville estate planning attorney, contact the Gierach Law Firm. Call us at 630-756-1160 today and schedule a confidential consultation to discuss your needs.