Family dynamics are often complicated (if not outright messy), and there’s nothing like the death of a loved one to cause serious fractures in even otherwise steady relationships.
While nobody really likes to contemplate their own mortality — and conversations about death are never easy — there are some very smart reasons you should sit your adult children down and talk about what they can expect when you pass away.
- It can soothe over potential problems and avoid legal disputes.
Far too often, the death of a parent or parents starts a cascade of events that can leave their adult children dismayed and confused. That can quickly turn into a legal conflict over the estate.
You really don’t know the expectations your adult children have about your estate unless you ask. Something as seemingly small as “Who gets Mom’s ring?” could provoke an ugly battle if more than one of your children expect to inherit it.
Talking things over now can help you negotiate any changes you want to make to your plans. Or, at a minimum, it can let you explain your decisions and talk over the feelings those decisions provoke.
- It helps your children fully understand your wishes.
Estate planning isn’t all about what happens to the family assets or heirlooms. You may have some very specific feelings about your end-of-life care and how you want that managed.
Unless you’ve expressed those feelings very carefully to all of your children, they may have different beliefs about what is right for you when the time comes. Talking it out now may not make everyone happy, but it will make you choices clear and that you made them after considerable thought.
Estate planning is an important part of planning for your future. It’s wisest to work with an experienced advocate about your options from the beginning.