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Should You Tell Your Kids about Your Estate Plan? A double edge sword


After people get estate plans they often want to know whether they should tell other people about the contents of the plan. Specifically, people want to know if they should tell their adult children. Many experts will be very quick to say that they should have a discussion with their children about what to expect. However, as the NWI Times points out in “What should we tell the kids?,” the answer is not always that simple and it is a personal one that everyone needs to decide for themselves.

If you tell people about your estate plan, then you risk family arguments about the plan. Children might have different views about what should happen to your possessions after you pass away than you have. Children who are not selected for important roles in the estate, such as executor or trustee, might be upset about that too.

On the other hand, if that drama is going to play out concerning your plan, it might be better to let it do so now when you are around to explain and mediate than after you pass away. Telling your children also lets them know what to expect so they can make plans about the inheritance they will receive.

Ultimately, whether you should tell your children about your estate plan depends on the specific dynamics of your family and how they will feel about the plans you have made. No one can answer the question in the abstract and no one is in a better position than you to understand your family well enough to make a decision one way or another.

Consult a qualified estate planning attorney for guidance here.

Reference: NWI Times (July 10, 2016) “What should we tell the kids?

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