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What should I discuss with my adult children regarding my estate plan? P.1

Communicating with one's children can be difficult when it comes to serious issues, particularly issues of inheritance and estate planning. Sometimes people put the conversation off, thinking they will have time to do so later. Unfortunately, too many people do this so long that their family is unprepared when the time comes to wrap up their estate.

Talking to one's spouse, children and other family members about estate planning is an excellent way to get them involved in the process, to feel out their expectations and desires, and to avoid massive problems down the road. But what should you talk to your children about regarding your estate plan. Nothing? Everything? Somewhere in between? In this article, we'll look at four issues about which it is critical to speak with one's children.

The first issue regards who to appoint as executor of one's estate. This is an important decision, as the executor is the person charged with the task of winding up one's estate. This involves protecting the deceased person's property until all debts and taxes are paid and managing what is leftover by transferring it to those entitled to it. An executor does not have to be a legal or financial expert, but should be a person of integrity, diligence, and impartiality.

The executor should know in advance that they have been selected as executor, and they should know where the will is kept. As far as how much they should know about one's estate plan, it will vary. They don't necessarily need to know the details, but it can be helpful for them to have a general sense of their responsibilities and what they will be dealing with.

In our next post we'll continue discussing this topic.

Source: yoursmartmoneymoves.com, "What Four Estate Planning Things Parents Should Tell Their Children," Ted Jenkin, May 31, 2012

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