Having an estate plan is a great first step to securing peace of mind in knowing your affairs are in order and your wishes for your assets and wealth are taken care of in case anything happens to you, or once you are no longer here. If you have children, they are most likely the beneficiaries or potential executors of your estate. With this so often being the case for those with children, it’s important to make sure your children are aware of what your estate plan involves and what they need to do. The older that you get, and of course the older your children get, means it’s even more important to have the conversation with your children about what they may expect and what’s expected of them in case the worst happens. While it may not be an easy conversation, and every family is different, we have gathered some key points on what your kids need to know about your estate plan.
What Your Kids Need to Know About Your Estate Plan
Who would be in charge?
The first decision you may want to make is whether you are telling your children the amount of assets in your estate and what they would be dealing with in that sense. There are pros and cons to disclosing this information to your children, but this will ultimately depend on your family dynamics. What your kids should know, whether you are sharing your net worth or not, is who would be in charge if something were to happen to you. In your estate plan you have made decisions on your assets and healthcare wishes and your children should know who would be in charge of your financial matters and your healthcare, whether you are appointing them or someone else. Anyone that you have named in your plan to have some sort of responsibility should be made aware of that fact and what you are expecting of them. If the people you have named do not include your children, make sure your children are aware who they should turn to in case they are expecting to be the ones taking over.
Who gets what?
Many consider only financials when thinking about estate planning, but your physical assets and property are all a part of your estate and should be included in your plan. It’s important to discuss with your kids how you are dividing your assets so there are no surprises or arguments when you aren’t there to referee. This doesn’t have to necessarily mean you are telling your kids how much money they may be getting, but if you have certain possessions, especially any with sentimental value, be clear on who you want those assets to go to. Maybe you have a certain item that you want to go to one child as you know it’s something they covet, but maybe your other children want it as well. Being up front about these things can help with a smooth transition during a time of grief since you expressed your wishes to them ahead of time. It’s also best to be up front about your wishes for physical assets in case your children are either splitting the value of something or sharing possession of it. Say you have a vacation property or a vintage car. You can discuss with your children if they would want to either pledge to share, or to split the value once those items are sold.
Help your children plan
While this will pertain to adult children, and not all may be ready for this conversation, discussing a potential inheritance with your children is a great way to help them get a jump on their own financial planning for their future. If they aren’t aware of a large sum they are getting, they may not know the best ways to be responsible with it. This is also helpful when splitting your assets evenly amongst your children, they will know what to expect and no one will feel as though they are missing out on anything. Whether you are sharing certain dollar amounts or not, it’s always best to communicate what your children should know rather than leaving them in the dark to sort out your affairs when you are no longer here.
It’s not easy to discuss the end of your life, especially with the ones you love. If you’ve taken the steps to create an estate plan, no matter how scary it is, let your loved ones know your plans and what your hopes are for them when you are no longer here. We can help you create the best plan that provides both peace of mind and a smooth transition of your assets.
Whether you have an estate plan or need help creating one, we are here to help. Contact us today to start the process.
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.