To share or not to share estate plan details with children?

| Oct 21, 2020 | Estate Planning |

End-of-life planning isn’t necessarily easy to accomplish, as there are a lot of things to consider. The goal is to create an estate plan that offers the protections one desires while at the same time preventing future conflict among one’s children. Some Michiganders believe that talking to adult children about their estate plans is the only way to prevent conflict, while others think they should keep the terms to themselves. Who is right?

There is no right or wrong answer here. Some people would be better off sharing their estate plans with their kids, and others would be better off not. Each family is different.

For those who are on good terms with their children and whose children get along with one another, sharing the details or asking for input may be wise. For example, by talking about it, one may learn that the kids do not want the house or certain assets. One may also discover that specific assets mean more to one child than they do the others. Being open can help one create an estate plan to best fits one’s family, and lets children know what to expect.

For those who have strained relationships with their children or whose children do not get along, keeping things private may be a good idea. It may not be possible to prevent future conflict in such situations, but remaining silent can prevent conflict now. Keeping the terms private, but making sure one’s wishes are carefully documented so they are clear can help ensure assets are divided as one intends when the time comes.

Talking about one’s estate plan with adult children can be uncomfortable, as no one really wants to or likes to talk about this kind of stuff. Michigan residents, whether they are just preparing their estate plans, making changes or have had them set up for a while, need to decide if it makes sense for their loved ones to know their intentions now or if having them wait is best. Legal counsel may be able to offer some insight on this and any other estate plan-related concerns.