When you create your legacy you are giving an amazing gift to your children. This legacy will provide for their future, and possibly the future for their children and their children’s children. Done right, you and your estate planning attorney can put a plan in place that will positively impact multiple generations for many years.
Despite the many advantages of family legacy planning, it still can be difficult to share with your children. Our children, no matter their ages, are still our children. We want to shield them from adversity and hard conversations. Your comprehensive estate plan is critical for your protection and for theirs, yet it remains a very emotional conversation to have together.
The best way to have this conversation is to plan for it. Much as you would plan to go to your doctor or to meet with your financial planner, planning for this family meeting with ensure your goals will be accomplished. Let us share our checklist with you for how to discuss your estate planning with your children.
1. Decide who should attend the meeting. Will it only be you and your children? Do you want all of your children present or is it better to meet one on one? Should spouses or grandchildren be in attendance?
2. Determine the objectives of the conversation. How will you introduce your estate planning? How much will you share with them? What, if anything, will remain private?
3. Schedule a time to meet that works with everyone’s schedules. This may not be easy to schedule together. Be patient, and work to find a solution for everyone.
4. Decide whether or not you will bring your documents. Will you provide your family with a copy? Do you want to? If you are unsure, ask your attorney.
5. Prepare for the questions you believe you will be asked beforehand. No one knows your children better than you. If you can prepare answers to their questions now the meeting may be easier.
6. Discuss this in advance with your estate planning attorney. What does your attorney think you should do? Your attorney will have insight on how to lead this meeting effectively to reach the results you want. You may even want to introduce your children to your attorney.
7. Once the discussion begins, state your wishes clearly and concisely. Answer any questions your children may have for you but be firm. Your choices are your choices. Do not let emotions influence your decision.
8. Explain what legacy planning is to your children. Let them know that your goal is to secure their futures once you pass.
9. Schedule a second conversation before the meeting is over. Give your children time to think about what you have shared with them. Set a time for them to come back to you and ask additional questions.
Discussing your estate planning with your children can provide you and them peace of mind. While it may not be an easy conversation to have, it is critical. Do you need help getting started? Do you have questions? Do not wait contact a member of our legal team know.