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IN THE SECTION

Should you tell your adult children about your estate plan?

| Jun 7, 2021 | blog, estate administration & probate |

When the children of a decedent don’t get what they expected when their parent dies, they may fight with other family members and beneficiaries. Children who weren’t expecting anything can also have trouble adjusting when they receive a large sum of money from your estate in Indiana. The decision on what to share with your adult children about your estate plan mostly depends on your family dynamics. However, you should still tell them the bare minimum, such as who the executor and power of attorney are, even if your children don’t get along well.

Who are the executor and power of attorney?

Estate administration and probate go more smoothly when you inform the executor ahead of time that they have this responsibility. They will need to learn about what responsibilities they have as executor and what tasks they must complete once you die. Having to handle all of those legal tasks while grieving isn’t easy, so knowing what legal tasks to expect in advance makes it a little easier on them.

Likewise, you should inform your power of attorney so that they can act quickly if you become incapacitated. You should assign someone to make financial and health decisions for you to prevent your family from arguing over what to do. It’s possible to assign two different people if you want one person in charge of your health decisions and another allowed to handle your finances.

When you’re not leaving behind assets for your children

If you aren’t leaving an inheritance or assets behind for your children, it’s best to inform them in advance. Many people expect their parents to leave behind an inheritance for them and may even go as far as to factor this into their financial planning.

When the inheritances aren’t equal

You may want to consider letting your children know in advance that you have given a different percentage of distribution and your reasons for doing so. It’s better to inform them of your reasons than have them make assumptions. They may assume something negative, especially when emotions are high over the shock and grief of your death.

How much you tell your children about your estate plan is up to you. At the very least, the executor and power of attorney should know of their roles. This will allow them to be prepared and know where important documents are.