Many adult children and other beneficiaries of estates don’t know what they should expect when a parent or loved one passes away. The problem with them not knowing what to expect is that they may be caught off-guard by one person receiving a large inheritance or another receiving less than they expected.
As someone who wants to pass on your assets, it’s reasonable to talk to your heirs about their inheritances and what you plan to leave behind for them. Doing this is beneficial for three reasons:
- They have an opportunity to ask questions or challenge your decision while you’re alive
- You can make your wishes known to all your heirs at once
- You reduce the likelihood of conflicts after you pass away
Estate planning makes it easier to pass on assets, but it’s up to you to sit down with your beneficiaries to talk about what exactly they’re going to receive.
Should you talk about estate planning issues one-on-one?
When it comes to your estate plan, it is usually better to talk to an entire group of people about your wishes. For example, if you will leave three of your children inheritances of varying amounts, you may want to talk to each of them about what you plan to leave for them. If you will have each of your children play a different role in your care, such as one being a health care power of attorney and the other a financial power of attorney, explaining why you made those decisions could help them understand your wishes better.
All too often, beneficiaries and heirs don’t get to talk to their loved one about what they’re inheriting, which leaves them wondering what to expect. They can’t plan, consider their financial options or take the time to get in touch with an accountant or attorney in advance.
It’s helpful if you give your heirs time to think about an inheritance if you plan to leave it to them. Letting them know your hopes for them, the reason you’re leaving them the inheritance you are and other facts will help minimize conflict and make your passing easier on everyone.