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Estate planning involves talking to your children

There's more to developing an estate plan than preparing all of the necessary documents with your attorney. If you're leaving a considerable amount of money and/or other assets to your children, it's important to talk with them about handling the wealth that they will one day inherit.

Few people are comfortable with talking about money, let alone what will happen when they die. That's why it's best when this can be done in a relaxed atmosphere, such as during a family vacation or over the holidays.

You may not want to specify in your will just how you want your adult children to spend the money you leave them. However, you can and should share with them what kind of legacy you hope they'll use their inherited wealth to carry on. If you've been sharing your values with them their entire lives, none of this information should be news to them. However, it's important that they know your expectations that they'll carry your values into the future.

It's also important to go over some key points about your estate plan and documents, at least with the person who will be handling your estate, if it's one of your children:

  1. Review your "balance sheet" of assets and debts.
  2. Tell them where all of your estate documents are located.
  3. Provide them with your estate planning attorney's information and that of any financial and tax professionals they may need to speak with.
  4. Make sure that they have a list of all of your accounts, companies and individuals they'll need to contact and any passwords they will need.

You may be leaving significantly different amounts to your children or perhaps placing one or more of these children's assets in a trust. In that case, it may be best to talk with each one separately. If you need any advice regarding how to have this talk with your children and what information to provide them, your California estate planning attorney can help you.

Source: Forbes, "Don't Let Your Kids Squander Your Wealth - Start Talking To Them," Rob Clarfeld, Aug. 07, 2017

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