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Estate planning may require family communication

A recent survey by an investment corporation revealed that many parents and their adult children are not communicating well when it comes to retirement and end-of-life issues. Often after parents have done careful estate planning, they may not inform their children of the decisions, even if those choices directly involve the children. Retirement advisors encourage those in Pennsylvania and across the country to begin having serious conversations about their wishes and plans before it is too late.

One family established the habit of gathering weekly to review plans and schedules when the children were still young. That practice evolved to an annual meeting as the children became adults and moved away. The family now discusses changes in the estate and stays up to date with the needs and concerns of their parents. According to the survey, this is a rare occurrence. In fact, more than 50 percent of adult children report that they have never discussed wills or estate plans with their parents.

When asked if they have chosen which of their children will be the executors of their estates, 92 percent of parents said yes. However, more than a quarter of those children are not aware that they have been selected. Additionally, parents are encouraged to discuss with their children their wishes for living arrangements and medical decisions if their health should fail. Advisors say children should also know where to find vital documents and should never be surprised at what those documents contain.

Every family is unique, and every estate has its own special considerations. When parents in Pennsylvania decide to open the line of communication with their children concerning estate planning, they often begin by speaking with a lawyer. An attorney will help them analyze their goals and determine the best options for their estates.

Source: wral.com, "This simple solution will help families sort out finances as parents grow older", Lois M. Collins, Aug. 4, 2016

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