How Can You Talk to Your Children About Your Estate Plan?

With the holiday season in full swing, you may be preoccupied with buying gifts and planning large family gatherings. However, the holiday season also offers a great opportunity to discuss your estate plan with your loved ones.

While they may seem uninterested in your assets, and do not want to think about your death, it is very important to discuss your estate plan with your children. This is the case whether you have adult children or even teenagers. Allowing your children to understand your estate plan and their roles in it will be incredibly helpful; do not hesitate and tell them only when your death is near.

How to Have the Estate Planning Conversation with Your Kids

Despite the topic perhaps being uncomfortable to speak about, it is crucial that those who are impacted by your estate plan – which, if you have children, they likely will – understand both the contents of your estate plan and the roles each of them have when the time comes.

As for the specific conversation, this will depend on how you feel your children will react. Having a group discussion allows for everyone to gain an understanding of what their role is, and can encourage positive discussion between your children in regard to your estate plan. However, you may also opt to discuss with your children individually, if that is a more comfortable setting for them to fully comprehend the information you are discussing.

How to Manage the Emotions Surrounding Your Discussion

Talking to your children about your estate plan is not an easy task. Discussing your potential incapacitation, as well as your future death, can make your children upset.

With that said, it is best to calmly explain the contents of your estate plan to your children and highlight the importance of the topic. Your children may also want to know why specific decisions were made – which can also be very helpful to discuss.

Should You Talk About Financial Specifics with Your Children?

While the contents of your discussion will be up to you, it may be best suited for you to be totally transparent when discussing your estate plan with your children. This includes talking about specific financial details like how much each child stands to inherit. Passing on this information can help your children plan for their own financial future.

How is Discussing Your Estate Plan with Your Children Beneficial?

There are numerous benefits to discussing your estate plan with your children. Some of the benefits include the following:

  • Educate your children about estate planning
  • Build trust between you and your children
  • Let everyone know what their role is in your estate plan

Educating Your Children About Estate Planning

Having an open and honest discussion about your estate plan with your children can teach them more about estate planning in general. Estate planning is not likely a topic that your children (specifically teenage or young adult children) know much about.

Conversations like these can spur your children to think about their own futures and take stock of the assets they possess.

Build Trust Between You and Your Children

Having a talk with your kids about your estate plan can help build trust between you and them. While it may not be an easy discussion, it is an important one, and one your children will likely appreciate having.

Let Everyone Know What Their Role is in Your Estate Plan

As briefly mentioned above, you do not want to wait until you are about to pass away to start telling your children about your estate plan. Having the conversation earlier on can benefit everyone involved.

For assistance creating or updating your estate plan, we are here to help. Contact us today to learn more about how we can assist you.

For more information regarding various estate planning and elder law topics, view our resources page here, where you will find previous blog articles, newsletters and our informative webinar series.

Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

About the Author

Alyssa Marie Monteleon, Esq.

Alyssa Marie Monteleon is an elder law and estate planning attorney at the Monteleon Law Group, PLLC with offices in New York and Virginia. For more information, please visit or call (914) 840-2529.

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