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Talking To Your Adult Children About Your Estate Plan

Do you want to talk to your adult children about your estate plan but are worried that it will create family drama?

You are not alone.  Many parents avoid having these tough discussions because they don’t want to upset their kids or because they feel uncomfortable talking about death or money.  Unfortunately this avoidance tends to fuel rather than prevent family drama and ends up complicating matters down the road.

If parents explain how the inheritance will be divided well in advance, anxiety can be significantly reduced during a stressful time for their children.  What you tell your adult kids about your estate plan should be aligned with your family values and take into consideration each of your children’s ability to digest the information you share.


Personal Property

One of the most contentious issues that arises in estate planning is the distribution of personal assets like jewelry, artwork and other valuable possessions.  This is also true for items with significant sentimental value, even if they are not worth much monetarily.

As such, it’s essential to speak with your adult children about how your personal items will be distributed.  Provide each of your children with the opportunity to indicate which items are his or her favorite to help you to make decisions.

These conversations with your children will not only foster a healthy dialogue about the inevitable future, but will also give you children the opportunity to share stories and memories that they hold dearly.


Hold a Family Meeting

Once you have discussed the inheritance of personal items with each of your children and have consulted with an experienced estate planning attorney, hold a family meeting to review your estate planning decisions.  This meeting will provide your family members with the opportunity to ask any questions they might have.   You will also be able to tell your children where your estate planning documents will be stored, the information that is contained in your will as well as the roles they will play in the future management of your estate.

Select a quiet and private location for the meeting so that everyone feels comfortable and be sure to speak calmly so as to not incite negative emotions and reactions.  Ensure that each of your children has the opportunity to speak and if disagreements arise, try to come up with solutions.

You might find it helpful to have your estate planning attorney present at this meeting to act as an advisor and to help ensure that the environment remains calm.  Keep in mind, however, that you are the ultimately the one who is responsible for making sure that your estate is transferred successfully.


Take the time and make the preparations necessary to ensure a smooth transfer of your estate to your adult children.  To discuss your specific needs with one of our estate planning attorneys in Pittsburgh, please call us at Fingeret Law at 412.281.8222 or contact us online.