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How much estate planning information should be shared with children?

On Behalf of | Dec 8, 2020 | Estate Planning |

Clear communication with future beneficiaries, executors and other designatedindividuals is usually considered a best practice when preparing a will. But, is there such a thing as providing too much information during and after estate planning? Privacy concerns and family dynamics can often make Florida planners hesitant to reveal every aspect of a will, especially where financial details are concerned. Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing how much information to reveal to children as part of the estate planning process.

Generally, clear communication in advance is the best way to avoid future conflicts. One rule of thumb that many financial advisors share is that parents should tell their kids at least enough that they are not blindsided when it comes to estate administration. This doesn’t necessarily mean sharing all the finer points of the assets involved, but the general intention for distribution of wealth should not be a surprise.

There are many concerns parents may have when it comes to sharing this information with adult children. Will they stop working as hard if they know an inheritance is coming? Will they disagree with how the estate will be divided? Could they become judgmental or nosey about financial matters? These are reasonable concerns, but in the end not talking about things until later often exacerbates challenges like these rather than avoiding conflict.

Individuals with responsibilities in an estate plan, such as those named as power of attorney or executors, may need more information than others in order to properly carry out their duties. However, keep in mind that other beneficiaries could become suspicious or upset at a person who has more information than them when it comes time to execute an estate, especially if they are surprised at anything in the estate plan. As such, clear communication with all involved is best practice, with the caveat that some matters and family dynamics may require a more delicate approach. Those who are unsure about the legal implications of communicating, or not communicating, certain estate planning information may benefit from discussing the matter with a Florida elder law attorney.