Last week we talked about why parents might not want kids to know how much they have. Today we’re looking at why you should tell them.
1. What if you’re incapacitated?
We think it’s important for you and your children to know your roles in case of an emergency and you become incapacitated. Making a realistic plan is possible only when everyone understands what may be required. If your resources are limited and you expect your kids to contribute to your care, they need to know – now.
2. How do you want to be remembered?
What if you have to sell the family home to pay overdue taxes, and there’s nothing left for the kids? Or, you took a reverse mortgage and the balance becomes due on your death. It’s better to reveal these issues now than have your kids learn about them after your death.
3. How should you dispel your children’s expectations about your estate?
Without revealing the amount of your estate, level with your children about your future travel plans, possible charitable contributions, and your inability to predict your possible medical expenses. Let your children know they will receive whatever is left and how it will be divided among them. This should encourage kids to take responsibility for their own lives now.
4. How can you prevent lasting hostility among your heirs?
If you’re making an unequal distribution of your estate, explain your thinking to your kids – and give them a chance to air their feelings. If a sibling has needs greater than the others, make sure they understand and accept your decision. But they need to be reassured you love them all.
5. Shouldn’t you know your kids’ needs and preferences?
For example, do they want to keep the family beach house? If so, are they willing and able to share those expenses? Does one child need help buying a home or sending a child to college now, and be willing to receive less at death? Doesn’t it make sense to discuss these concerns now, rather then when it’s too late?
Have a good conversation today!