Talking to your kids about their inheritance may seem like an overwhelming conversation. Easier said than done, right? But, sometimes the hard conversations are the most important ones. You’ve worked hard to build a life you’re proud of, and with that comes thinking about what you will be leaving behind for the next generation. However, it’s possible that your children may not be aware of this fact, or know your intentions for their inheritance. If you find you haven’t talked to your kids about their inheritance, rest assured that you’re not alone. It can be a tough conversation to have, but it’s important to set up your children for success, no matter how tough it can be to talk about a time when you’re not with them. Keep reading to learn a few ways to talk to your kids about their inheritance.
Talking to Your Kids About Their Inheritance
Talking about inheritance and your legacy can be emotionally charged and challenging, but it can also bring peace and assurance to both you and your family. If you’re unsure about how to approach your children regarding this matter, consider using the following conversation starters to initiate the discussion and prevent any potential issues related to family inheritance.
Open with an anecdote: You can casually break the ice by sharing an article you’ve read or a conversation you’ve had with a friend about inheritance. Using real-life experiences as a starting point can help alleviate some of the tension that typically accompanies these discussions.
Conversation starter No. 1: “I recently had a conversation/read an article about estate planning, which reminded me that I wanted to talk to you about our situation…”
Lead with a question: Instead of making declarative statements that might seem indifferent to your children’s feelings, hopes, and wishes, start with a question that shows your willingness to engage in a two-way dialogue. If you have specific ideas about how they should handle their inheritance, you might even consider gifting the money now and providing guidance accordingly.
Rather than saying, “I’m giving you this amount, and you’re going to do X with it,” try the following:
Conversation starter No. 2: “I’ve set aside X amount for you when I’m no longer here. How would you feel about that?”
Explain what your estate plan means to you: Help your children navigate the discomfort of this conversation by sharing why estate planning holds significance for you. You can also acknowledge that discussing inheritance can be awkward but necessary:
Conversation starter No. 3: “I understand that talking about this isn’t easy, but I want to go over the inheritance you’ll receive when I’m gone. It’s important to me that you’re prepared when the time comes.”
By utilizing these conversation starters and talking to your kids about their inheritance, you can initiate a constructive dialogue with your children about inheritance and ensure that everyone is on the same page regarding your estate plan. Remember, open communication can help avoid misunderstandings and bring clarity to your family’s financial future.
Disclaimer: This article is intended to serve as a general summary of the issues outlined therein. While this article may include general guidance, it is not intended as, nor is a substitute for, qualified legal advice. Your review or receipt of this article by Lexern Law Offices, Ltd. (the “LLG”) or any of its attorneys does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and the LLG. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors of the article and does not reflect the opinion of the LLG.