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Sharing Your Estate Planning with Your Children

April 27, 2015 Estate Planning

What’s in Your Will—Letting Your Kids Know Can Be Tricky

Extended family mealThe estate planning process can be a little unnerving—most people don’t like to spend time contemplating their death. But many find it even more difficult to share their decisions regarding their estates with their children. They fear that their children may be unhappy that they are not getting what they want, or that knowing they will potentially be heirs to a significant estate will make them unmotivated. Here are some recommendations by financial experts to help you through this process.

Be Open about How You Value Money and Property

If you have lived your values and consistently communicated the role and importance of money and property, your estate plans should come as little or no surprise to your children. If you plan to give a significant amount of money to a charity, doing so while you are alive establishes a precedent. Don’t try to accomplish with your estate planning what you never did before death.

Be Proactive in Discussing Any Unequal Distributions

If you intend to give one child more than another, give as much advance notice of that as possible. In addition, don’t do it at a “family” meeting. You should talk to each child separately about his or her potential inheritance. The child who is receiving less may not be happy with your decision, but will be less inclined to blame siblings if you candidly discuss the matter in advance.

Help Your Children Prepare for Inheritance

Especially when the inheritance is significant or will dramatically change your child’s net worth, it’s beneficial to help them put measures in place to deal with the potential changes. If they have little or no experience managing a large investment portfolio or net worth, help them secure the services of a trusted financial advisor before the inheritance, so that they can make a smooth transition to a greater net worth. Avoid surprises on both ends of the spectrum—receiving way more or way less than expected can be equally devastating to your child.

Contact Our Office

At Barnard, Mezzanotte, Pinnie & Seelaus, LLP, we have provided thorough and effective legal counsel to clients throughout Delaware County in Pennsylvania since 1980. We offer a free initial consultation. To schedule an appointment, call us at 610-565-4055 or 302-594-4535 or contact us online.

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