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Discussing estate planning with your children

Previous posts here have mentioned how many people wait until later in life to begin seriously thinking about estate planning. So, the reasoning should be that most people over the age of 50 probably have estate planning documents in place, right? Well, according to an AARP survey, only about 60 percent of adults between the ages of 53 and 71 have any kind of estate planning documents.

For some people, one of the biggest drawbacks about estate planning is how their children might react to their expressed preferences on asset distribution. The vast majority of people leave their possessions, funds and other assets to their children. And, not only do people worry about what their children will think, they also worry about how their children will use their inheritance.

But, that is why the recent article suggested being fully open with your children when it comes to estate planning. Fill them in on your reasons for why assets will be distributed in a certain way, and how you hope they will use their inheritance. Even if your children do not agree with your decisions, it is better to write a will and have your assets distributed according to your own wishes rather than dying without a will and leaving the distribution up to the state.

Another tip in the article is to divide assets equally among your children. Some people may think that one of their children has been more financially successful than the others and, therefore, doesn't need as much left to them. But, estate planners should consider how this type of unequal distribution could engender bitterness between siblings after the parents are gone. When our readers finally decide that it is time to craft a will, it is a good idea to be open and honest with the children who will likely receive the assets at stake.

Source: CBS Boston, "Over The Hill: Where There Is A Will There Is Way!," Dee Lee, Aug. 10, 2017

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