Is an inheritance really something that you want to be a surprise? Many parents make it one. They never tell the children what they’re going to get and they only find out when they read the will.
This approach can lead to a lot of issues. You may want to consider having a conversation long before they read that will. Telling the children what they will get in advance is a wise move because:
- They do not have any unrealistic expectations. Those could make them feel frustrated, shocked or even angry when the reality is unveiled.
- You can sometimes eliminate estate disputes. Children can come talk to you directly if they feel like the plan is unfair, rather than arguing with their siblings.
- You can explain your thinking. Worried that a child will feel like you didn’t love them as much as a brother or sister based on their inheritance? Tell them why it’s different and they’ll never struggle with this.
- You can make changes. When you have a conversation, the children may raise good points that change your mind. You still have time to update the will.
- You can make it a family affair. This acknowledges to them that they are important and that you understand how this impacts their lives. It’s not just about you. They can work with you to find solutions that make everyone happy.
Whether or not you decide to have these conversations with your children, just make sure you know what estate planning options you have and what steps you should take to get the process started.