Discussing wills and estate plans brings peace

Estate planning is sometimes a private process that enables a person to make end-of-life decisions and other choices about assets. During the process, the person who is planning the estate has to decide which family members or friends should know about the estate plan. For some, this is an unpleasant experience, but talking about the estate plan enables those around you to get questions answered about your wishes. It also gives your loved ones an idea of what will happen when you pass away. Oklahoma readers might like to know about how lack of communication can sometimes harm those you are leaving behind.

The 2014 Intra-Family Generational Finance Study from Fidelity says that adult children underestimate the value of their parents' estate by around $300,000. When you think about that figure, it can mean the difference between the adult children knowing that they can care for their parents' final wishes or having to worry about how to cover expenses.

While only 6 percent of parents think they will become reliant on their children if they fall ill, 43 percent of adult children think that they will be responsible for their parents' care as their parents age. This can also be a big stress factor for adult children.

The way that a person can help to alleviate the stresses associated with the end of their life and final wishes is to discuss the wishes with those they love. Parents say they don't want to discuss finances with their adult children because of false expectations of an inheritance, and children are reluctant to bring up the subject for fear of upsetting their parents.

As true as those thoughts might be, an overwhelming percentage -- 93 percent -- of parents say that discussing these facts with their adult children gave them peace. Whether you are discussing choices for end-of-life care or your will, knowing how to legally convey those wishes is vital.

Source: WealthManagement.com, "Families Avoiding the Tough Conversations", Megan Leonhardt, July 9, 2014

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