When it comes to divulging your estate plans to your children, you might be tempted to keep it a secret -- and you won't be alone. Many parents would rather not have such heavy discussion with their kids. Perhaps you don't want to make your children feel bad by talking about your death. Or, maybe you're worried that your children will react badly to your estate plans and disagree with the way you hope to divvy up your estate.
If you're feeling like this -- or if you don't want to talk with your kids for some other reason -- you would be well-served to put these feelings aside. There are two extremely important reasons why you will want to have "the talk" as soon as possible from an estate planning perspective:
It will help your children and family keep a good relationship
Your children are only human, so they are subject to all the vices, fears, hubris and worries that come along with it. Even if you equally distribute your assets to each child, there is an opportunity for them to disagree with the fairness of the dispensation plan. They might believe that you were more generous to one sibling while you were alive; therefore, that sibling should receive less. They might get into arguments over your various personal possessions -- ones that only have sentimental value.
It will help ensure your estate plan is followed
When you talk to your kids about your plans, you will have the opportunity to explain your reasoning. If you do this in a family discussion where everyone is sitting around the same table, you will ensure that your entire family is on the same page and knows your intentions. Regardless of whether they agree with them, there's a much higher likelihood that they'll adhere to your plans when they know that it's what you wanted.
At the end of the day, talking with your kids about your estate plans is important because it will help the love and continuity in your family endure in the years following your death. Don't let your legacy lie in ruin because you were afraid to broach this uncomfortable topic with the people you hold closest to your heart.