Should I Share My Estate Plan With My Adult Children?

You have worked hard your entire life to make sure that your retirement will be secure and comfortable.  If you have raised children, you likely also have an eye toward helping support Living Trusts & Estate Planningthem and helping them to flourish in their life.  With a properly executed estate plan, you can help provide security for your adult children or grandchildren, but an estate plan can also achieve other essential goals, including providing instructions on your healthcare preferences, transferring your gun collection, or passing on your family vacation home.  With so many important goals, it is important to consider whether you should share your estate plan with your adult children.

One good reason to share your plans with your adult children is to help them make their own plans for the future.  For example, if you have a family business, giving your children insight into how the business will be handled following your death can help to ease the transition and make sure that your business survives that difficult time.  Depending on the structure of your business, you can make very specific provisions, ranging from requiring the business to be sold down to dividing the shares for all of your children and grandchildren.

Another reason to share your estate plan with your adult children is to help reduce the chances of later litigation concerning your intent or fitness to make a will.  If you have open and honest conversations with your adult children about what you intend to do with your assets after you die, it will be more difficult to claim that the will is the result of undue pressure or a side effect of end-of-life dementia.

Remember that if you are sharing your intention for your assets, it is not required that you provide any exact details to your adult children that you do not wish to.  You could, for example, tell them you intend to divide the liquid assets left equally without ever providing precise dollar amounts about the value of your estate.  It is also important to remember that your potential heirs and beneficiaries have no right to see your will or demand that you tell them exact amounts.  You are free to keep all of that information private.

A well-structured estate plan will include more than just a last will and testament.  There are a variety of other documents that an estate plan may contain.  One of the most important to have and to share with your adult children is your living will.  With a living will, you can dictate your specific healthcare preferences.  For example, you can state whether you want to be kept on a ventilator or what types of life saving measures you want to be taken in the event you are in a catastrophic accident or are suffering from a terminal illness.  Naturally, the most important person to provide with a copy of this document is your health care provider, but sharing a copy with your adult children can also help make sure your wishes are respected.

We have extensive experience helping our clients navigate estate planning issues of all descriptions. Call us today at 651-371-9117 to talk about your future.