When you are planning for your children to inherit your estate, it’s important to adequately prepare them for what they are going to receive. Dividing up estate between siblings can be a complicated process, but it’s a necessary action step to take. Paul Stein compares it to individualized parenting styles.

“Doing it equal, that’s is simple, but oftentimes simple isn’t the best. It’s kind of like when we parent, if you have more than one child, you probably tried to parent them as most appropriately for their personality; tried to build character, help them develop, grow, and come to know the Lord.”

“Just like you parent differently based on the child, the challenge is thinking similarly of your estate, what’s the best for each of these children? That might change over time.”

Kirby Stoll points out that conversations about financial matters aren’t always natural, especially if your parents’ generation weren’t very forthcoming on these topics. He shares from his personal experience,

“I love to talk to my parents, so it’s easy for us to sit down and have a conversations and to start to get pretty deep in those conversations, but sometimes it requires me asking them to open up because it doesn’t happen so naturally.”

“A lot of times there’s distance that separates, whether it’s physical or relational distance that separates, that doesn’t make it too convenient.”

The holidays often present an opportunity to talk to your children about important financial matters, and help them to gain a better understanding of your estate plans.

Why are these conversations so important? Paul says the fewer the surprises you have, the better. He discusses the importance of including your children in the process of planning and preparing your estate.

“The unknown oftentimes creates more fear and more anxiety. A lot of our clients are older and we’ve been helping them throughout their retirement. We always encourage our clients, as they are comfortable and certainly if their capacities are maybe starting to diminish a bit, to start including one or more of their children in meetings. To bring them in so they know what’s going on.”

“I would encourage them to start revealing things as they are appropriate to the children that they have trust and confidence in, and for children to also make an effort to broach that with their parents.”

Paul Stein, Certified Financial Planner™, is President and Founder of Advanced Retirement Resources. For more than 20 years Paul has provided insightful financial expertise guiding clients as they prepare for, transition into and navigate their retirement years. Paul is a frequent guest expert on radio, and an esteemed speaker nationally on various financial planning topics.

Kirby Stoll is Assistant Vice President for Gift Planning & Event Operations at the University of Northwestern – St. Paul. He is also Vice President of the Northwestern Foundation.

Estate planning in the family