Extended families gather at this time of year. So, it is an excellent time to chat with your loved
ones, typically your children, about your personal estate planning. Let them know that you
have “taken care business.” Peace of mind is a precious gift any time of year.
For young children, those under eighteen years of age, follow the guidelines traditionally used
for parents in discussions of the birds and the bees. Question the question. What is your child
really asking? What are her concerns? And, answer only the question asked. Your answers
should be brief and give comfort. Let your children know that no matter what they will always
be safe, cared for, and loved.
For adult children, you decide how much information you are comfortable presenting. Some
parents just tell their children that they have engaged in the process of estate planning. They
show the location of all important documents and provide contact information for their estate
planning attorney, financial advisor, insurance professional, and funeral home. It is simply
a “who to call when” discussion.
Other parents explain their plan and how it works. They explain the roles, if any, that their
children will play in executing their plan. They also explain the benefits of their plan such as
why it is good to receive an inheritance in trust, instead of outright. This discussion may or may
not include actual dollar amounts. It is up to you. Some parents feel comfortable sharing their
financial statements; others prefer to share their plan but not the specific numbers.
If you are unsure how to proceed with the discussion, contact your estate planning attorney for
guidance. As your family gathers during this holiday season, give the gift of peace of mind and
chat about your estate planning. And, encourage your children to engage in their own estate
planning process. Everyone over the age of eighteen must have his own estate plan.
If you have any questions about your estate planning please feel free to give my office a call at
your convenience. (858) 792-5988.