There are many difficult conversations that parents need to have with their children. One of these conversations revolves around the family finances, estate planning and future inheritances.
Often, discussing money and inheritance with family can be awkward, if the topic is discussed at all. But, it is a conversation that all families should have. The New York Times reports that not discussing the matter only "makes things worse" in the long-run.
The Times gives several suggestions about starting conversations with children, including:
- Philanthropy - Lisa Roberts suggested to the Times that families could discuss philanthropy and using money charitably as a way to bring up the topic. This way, expectations about what is going to be done with the money are set.
- Gathering financial documents - Carol Kaufman told the Times that gathering important financial documents into one place not only minimizes heirs' frustration, but also provides an opportunity to discuss finances and inheritance.
- Obligation - Ms. Kaufman also told the Times that it should be an obligation to discuss money and inheritance with children. Responsible parents should make a point to have conversations about their will or trust with their kids.
Just because a topic is difficult, that doesn't mean that it shouldn't be talked about.
By directly addressing the issues of gifts and inheritance with your children you provide clarity about your wishes and hopefully prevent misunderstandings down the road.
No matter your family's wealth or means, it is important to plan for the future. An estate planning attorney can work with you to establish what steps you need to take to develop a comprehensive estate plan.