When planning for the future of your estate, you will have to consider various issues, including the people you intend to designate as beneficiaries, your executor, your family and healthcare providers.
If you plan to talk with your children about your estate planning, there are a few things to keep in mind.
- Words matter, so how you approach this conversation will set the tone and can make this a non-threatening discussion instead of a fear-filled one.
- Estate planning is prevalent. You can share with your children that individuals and couples begin their estate planning, including their end-of-life plans, as early as at the time of their marriage or when they have children.
Benefits of clear communication
There are benefits to involving your children in your estate planning, particularly if you have a close relationship with them. For example:
- Transparency: your children will know what assets you own and who will receive what, which will allow you to explain the reasoning behind your decisions if you want to, and clarify any doubts or ambiguities that may arise.
- Healthcare: your children will know and understand your decisions for your end-of-life plans. If you have an advance directive, you can provide them a copy and explain to them why you have made those decisions, which can be reassuring to them as they process this information.
- Storage of essential documents: your children will be informed about where everything is, and if you have made a checklist, even if end-of-life is not within sight at all, it can be helpful to have so that when the time comes, everything can be found easily, either physically or electronically.
- Executor: your children will know who you have chosen as your executor or representative and why, and hopefully feel at ease knowing that you have chosen a trustworthy, loyal individual.
In addition, this can be an opportunity for you and your children to discuss future family plans. If you choose to have this conversation with them when you are fully healthy, you will lessen their fear and be able to have an honest and rational discussion about this natural part of life.
Lastly, it is possible that as you age, your children may be wondering what will happen in the future. Such conversations will close that information gap and reassure them that you have planned and carefully considered them and their best interests.