Inheritance: When Should You Begin the Discussion?

Most clients typically do not talk to their children about their inheritance.  Some don’t want to think or talk about dying, others are uncomfortable talking with their kids about financial matters, or letting them know how much they will inherit out of fear it will curb their motivation.  So when is the right time to talk about inheritance matters?

When you first have children.  Most parents never want to confront the question of who would be responsible for their children if they both were not around.  Once you have children is a good time to have a discussion with your significant other and determine who the person or persons are you would want to be responsible for your kids.  Once you have agreed on someone. You should include that person or persons in the conversation to make sure they are comfortable with the responsibility.   The proper estate planning documentation, such as trusts, can help facilitate this process. This will make for a smoother transition should anything ever happen.

When your children are adults.  When you feel your children are mature enough to understand the conversation, you should have the discussion with them.  Everyone’s situation is different, and parents know their children best. So whether it be at 18 or 30 will depend on the individuals.  But in most cases, one or more of your children is going to be in charge of administering the inheritance.  All will likely be beneficiaries.  In order to avoid sibling rivalries and confrontations later, it’s best to have the conversation with them up front.

You need to let your children know there is a plan in place. No matter how the inheritance distributions are going to be made.