Thinking about what will happen to your estate and end-of-life plans isn’t necessarily the most pleasant topic for discussion with your adult children, but it can be a critical one.
Before having this discussion, prepare by considering the participants’ personal sensitivities, understanding that—as difficult as the conversation may be—it is often more difficult for children to learn of your plans after you are gone. In addition to the grief and sadness they will be feeling, having to go through information that is entirely new to them, and which they may not understand, can be overwhelming.
For these reasons, it is often recommended that you discuss your estate plan with your adult children while you are still fully capable of making decisions that both protect your assets and honor your wishes, and while you can answer any questions they may have.
Important considerations to discuss
In many situations, having an open and honest conversation is preferable. Consider discussing the following items:
- Your property and assets and how you plan to distribute them;
- The decisions you have made regarding your healthcare and how that will be managed once you are no longer able to care for yourself;
- The reasons why you made your decisions;
- Where all your important paperwork is stored; and
- Who will be in charge, and what will their responsibilities will include.
In addition, you can use this conversation as a time for them to ask questions. Allow them to inquire about how the process works. These conversations could also help you determine who may be best suited to be the executor of your estate.
Estate planning conversations don’t have to be scary
The topic of estate planning does not have to be scary. You have significant control over how you approach the subject, the terminology you employ, and the direction of the conversation. It does not have to be daunting. Rather, it can help both you and your children be more at ease about the future.
Open communication with your family members is critical regarding estate planning because it is the best way to ensure that your assets are protected and that your wishes are respected.