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Be honest when discussing your children’s inheritance

Be honest when discussing your children’s inheritance

When a Brooklyn art collector died, he left seven Monet works of art to his son. According to JP Updates, the son was supposed to keep one painting and distribute the rest among his six siblings. However, the son fell ill and struggled financially, resulting in a multi-family dispute over the paintings.

Any Bensenville estate planning lawyer would know that leaving property to people with the intention of having them distribute it to others leaves room for uncertainty. Discussing plans for inheritance with children is the best way to make sure a decedent’s wishes will be kept.

Why have the conversation?

It is not always easy to bring up the topic of death with children, but experts agree that talking about end-of-life plans should happen. In addition to outlining any wishes related to medical care, parents should talk with their children about their inheritance. This gives children the opportunity to ask questions about how a situation should be handled, such as keeping a valuable collection or selling it.

As a Bensenville estate planning lawyer would know, there are several other advantages to speaking with children about their inheritance, including the following:

  • Providing an explanation: The conversation gives parents the opportunity to explain why one child will inherit a home and another will inherit money, for example.
  • Everything is in the open: Children will be able to see that they are treated equally in the estate plan.
  • Create trust: Instead of having one child divide property, parents can do the division themselves and avoid potential fights.

Talking about inheritance with children will also give them an idea of what they stand to receive. Fidelity Investments conducted a survey that found adult children tend to underestimate their parents’ idea of how much their estate is worth by more than $300,000. Outlining the property will manage expectations and paint a clear picture of a parent’s financial circumstances.

When should you talk about it?

The Fidelity Investment report also notes that 64 percent of parents and their grown children disagree on when the conversation should happen. Children tend to want to talk about estate planning with their parents early, while the parents would like to discuss it after they retire.

Experts side with the children, noting that discussing plans before retirement is ideal so a family is prepared. Waiting too long could mean children have to deal with their parents’ financial or health issues without knowing what their wishes are. The more time a family has to plan for the unexpected, the less likely they are to encounter problems.

These conversations can become very detailed and technical. People should work with a Bensenville estate planning lawyer to organize inheritance.

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