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Parents Talking to Adult Children About Estate Plans

Smart Money published an interesting story this week that lists several things that parents should tell their children about their personal estate plan. This planning is conducted for individuals, but it obviously implicates entire families. It is often challenging to balance the need for parents to make their own choices about these affairs while respecting the fact that many others, especially children, are affected by those decisions. Our New York estate planning attorneys work with many residents who are grappling with these questions–trying to understand what they should or should not tell their children about their plans.

The Smart Money article argued that, generally, parents fail to provide enough information to their children about these affairs. Not every detail necessary need be explained. However, the author argues that it is imperative to share at least four details: (1) Who is the executor/trustee, (2) What is the long-term care pan, (3) Is there a living will, and (4) Where are important documents located.

Who Is the Trustee?
Depending on the type of planning conducted, it may include a will and trusts. Executors and trustees must be named to administer the estate via the guidelines in these documents. Children are often asked to handle these matters–frequently with the help of professionals like a New York estate planning lawyer. Those children should be made aware of their role ahead of time.

Long-Term Care Plan
Assisted living and nursing home care costs are quite high. When a parent reaches a point where this care is needed, it usually falls onto children to ensure the appropriate care is obtained. As such, children should be informed of any plans that are in place to provide the care. Sometimes this might involve long-term care insurance, while at other times it could include plans to enroll in Medicaid.

Living Will
A living will–sometimes referred to as an advance medical directive–shares information about how an individual would like certain end-of-life medical decisions handled. This includes the extent of life-support measures desired. It is helpful for children to be aware of the content of this will ahead of time so that there is not confusion in the event of severe injury or disability.

Important Documents
Many adult children face added stress after a loved one’s passing or disability when they cannot locate important documents or other materials. Children should know where bank account information, online passwords, and similar items can be located in the case of emergency. Not sharing this information often leads to unnecessary complications for already stressed loved ones.

See Our Related Blog Posts:

Estate Planning May Be a Family Decision

The Dynasty Trust May Keep Inheritance in the Family

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