I recently read an article in Kiplinger’s Personal Finance entitled “The Money Talk You Must Have” (November, 2013) written by Jessica Anderson. In this article, she discusses the fact that, as you age, and your children age, it is important to discuss the issues of inheritance, estate planning and long-term care. I most definitely agree. I am amazed by the number of clients who are very secretive with their children about what assets they have and what kind of planning they have done (or not done). [pullquote_left] The number one reason parents do not want to discuss their estate planning with their adult children is because they do not want their children counting on a huge inheritance.[/pullquote_left]
Why is this such a scary conversation to have? I guess I could understand if you do not have someone you could trust to handle financial decisions, but most clients that come to see me DO trust their kids. So what is stopping them from having the conversation?
Your Finances and Your Children
Ms. Anderson cites a 2012 Fidelity study that shows the number one reason parents do not want to discuss their estate planning with their adult children is because they do not want their children counting on a huge inheritance. I always tell my clients they should spend it all and enjoy it while they can, and hopefully, they bounce the check to the funeral home on the way out (just kidding)! Personally, I believe that people do not want to have these discussions with their children for the same reason they put off having their estate planning done in the first place – because they do not want to think about their mortality. Who does?
The fact of the matter is that, the more informed your children are, the easier you will make it on them when you are no longer around. While I can certainly understand the need for privacy, it is important for your adult children (or whomever you are appointing to make financial decisions for you) to know where the important documents are kept (even if you do not want them to know what is in those important documents). They should know that you have actually taken the time to do a Last Will and Testament, a Durable Power of Attorney and a Living Will/Health Care surrogate designation (the Big 3 as I call it). And hopefully, you think to do these while you are still young and healthy and there is no disputing that you have the ability to make these decisions.
And just think what a good example you will be setting for your kids!
For over 20 years, Laurie Ohall has been serving the legal needs of Tampa Bay area families. Ms. Ohall is a Florida Board Certified Elder Law Attorney, and is also licensed in the state of Ohio. It is her mission in the practice of law to protect, honor and educate her clients. She advocates on behalf of her clients in the areas of Medicaid Reform and resident’s rights (in ALFs and nursing homes). She also provides clients with comprehensive estate planning including wills, trusts, and advanced healthcare directives, and gives Tampa area seniors and their children piece of mind as they navigate Florida Elder Laws. Her blog is updated regularly to educate Florida residents about the laws affecting seniors, estate planning and probate.
(813) 438-8503 1127 Nikki View Drive, Brandon FL 33511