The Risks Of Putting Off Estate Planning Discussions With Family

As a person gets older, there are many conversations it can be important for them to have with their adult children and other close family members. One is a discussion about estate planning issues.

Why is having such a conversation important? A person's estate planning and other elder years planning can touch on many important things, such as: living arrangements, care arrangements and future distributions of assets, including assets with significant family history. These things can have many impacts on a person and their children. Discussing these important issues with one's children can help a family sort through concerns they have regarding these issues and help prevent adult children from being surprised down the line regarding what happens with these issues. An adult child being caught-off guard in the future, such as after their parent's death, about what their parent did in their estate planning could lead to hurt feelings and even probate disputes.

Now, talking about estate planning issues with one's adult children can sometimes be uncomfortable and can have its challenges. This may lead some to put off having such a conversation with their kids. However, putting this conversation off could result in it happening too late for it to have some of its intended effects or, if tragedy strikes, it never being able to happen at all. Thus, it can be important to steer clear of procrastination when it comes to this important topic of conversation.

What do you think are some of the best ways to go about having a conversation with one's children about estate planning issues? What do you think are the best times to have such conversations?

Procrastination not only can be problematic when it comes to talking about estate planning, but also when it comes to engaging in estate planning. By putting off establishing an estate plan, a person could risk having no such plan in place if incapacity strikes them or when they pass away. This can make it so a person's after-death or after-incapacity wishes are not known and/or not enforceable, and can create problems for a person's family during things like the probate process. Attorneys can assist individuals who have been struggling with procrastination when it comes to estate planning with promptly getting an appropriate estate plan in place.

Source: MarketWatch, "When should children and retiring parents have 'The Talk'?," Jack Tatar, Oct. 15, 2015

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