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How to talk to your adult children about your estate plan

Estate planning is important for everyone, but it is even more crucial if you have grown children. Your estate plan lays out what you want to leave for your children. The next step you should take is having a discussion about these plans. Having a conversation about money, retirement and end-of-life care is not easy, but it is beneficial. 

Being open and honest about your estate plan will reduce confusion and help your entire family have more peace of mind. Here are some tips for approaching this topic with your children.

Determine what they need to know

While being transparent and truthful is helpful, this does not mean you need to disclose every little detail. Your kids do not need to know exact numbers. Some important information you may consider telling your kids includes the following:

  • The locations of key financial and legal documents
  • Instructions on accessing electronic files
  • The contact information of your attorney and financial planner
  • Who will receive certain assets, such as property, insurance funds and investments

These points are especially vital to discuss if you expect any potential conflict between your children. 

Schedule an in-person meeting, if possible

Inform your children that you wish to have a discussion about your finances and end-of-life plans. Set up a meeting or conference call to have this conversation. You may also want to include any adult grandchildren. If you anticipate problems coming up by meeting as a group, then you may consider having individual meetings. 

Keep it positive

Talking about the end of your life is uncomfortable, but it does not need to leave everyone feeling depressed and conflicted. Keep a positive outlook and steer the conversation towards your goals and love for your family. Depending on your family dynamic and your personality, you may want to use a touch of humor or a faith-based message. Consider ending the conversation with a special dinner at your favorite restaurant or having a classic home-cooked meal.

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