What To Tell Your Kids About Your Estate Plan

It can be a difficult discussion, but there are some basics your kids should know.

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The following is a transcript of the video above:

When and what should you tell your children about your estate plan? 

Hello, and welcome to episode 27 of Estate Planning Weekly. I am your host, Don Rolfe, the owner and founder of Northwest Legal Planning, an estate planning and probate law firm located in West Linn, Oregon. 

This is episode 27, and we're talking about when and what you should tell your kids about your estate plan. And this is a question that I get all the time, and people really have different thoughts and feelings about what they should be telling their kids, but there are baseline items that your children should definitely know, especially if they're gonna be involved in administering your estate after you're gone. Also, there are some things that they should know if you have a trust base plan or if you've had your children, if you've named them as potential healthcare agents. Things that they need to know during your lifetime in case something were to happen to you where those documents would become effective. 

As for your end of life estate plan. 

By the way, if you have any questions about this or any other estate planning topic, feel free to reach out to me by going to myestateplanmeeting.com. You can set a free 30 minute strategy session with me where I can answer any questions you have about this or any other estate planning topic, and we can do that either over the phone or in person. 

The things that you want to tell your children about your end of life estate plan terms. Basically, you wanna let them know that whether or not they're going to be your successor trustee, whether or not you have a trust or a will, and generally, what the scheme is and what your desires are. That's a baseline thing that they need to know, so that after you're gone, they're gonna know what they're gonna be looking for, and what they're going to possibly expect from what they find. 

Things that you absolutely don't need to tell them are how much money there is, where all of your property is, what's in your 401K, all of those, the amounts really don't matter. It's more getting them prepared for how they're going to administer your estate. 

So if you have a trust based estate, explain to them that you have a trust in place, and that everything that you owe is titled into the trust, and administration of your estate will be done through the trust. 

If you have a will based estate plan, you're going to want to tell them that they're the personal representative, where they're gonna be able to find your original will. Explain to them that they're gonna have to open up a probate as your personal representative, and that's gonna be done by filing a petition with the court, filing the original will with the court. 

In either of these scenarios, whether it's a trust based or a will based plan, I would suggest that you leave them the contact information for or tell them the contact information for the attorney that either prepared your plan, or the attorney that you're currently working with on your estate so that they will have a resource to reach out to to find out what steps they need to take. 

Now, the information that you wanna share with them for during your lifetime is if you have appointed them as perhaps your agent or your backup agent under your durable power of attorney, that they know that and they will understand that if mom or dad who are your first appointed agents are no longer around or are unable to act, that it's time for them to step up if something were to happen to you, and that durable power of attorney needs to be used either pay bills or sell assets. Those sorts of things. That's generally if you have a will based plan. 

If you have a trust based plan, you're gonna wanna let them know that they are perhaps the backup successor trustee after your spouse so that they know if something's happened to you, if you're becoming incapacitated, that they're gonna need to step up and take over so that they can manage your affairs for you. 

Same thing with healthcare, healthcare agents. If they're appointed as your first or secondary healthcare agent, and you're gonna let them know that they may expect to call from the hospital or a doctor or that if something were to happen to you and the family gathers, that they may be called upon to make decisions and discuss with them what kind of decisions you would want to have made. All of those sorts of things that if they're put in a role or if you've put them in a role in your estate plan, you need to explain to them what that role is, why you made those decisions, and explain to them what you would want if something were to happen. 

So if you have questions about this topic or any other estate planning topic, do feel free to go to myestateplanmeeting.com and you can schedule a complimentary 30 minute strategy session with me to get those questions answered, to learn more about your options about estate planning, and we can do that either in person, here at my office, or over the telephone. 

So again, the things that you wanna share with your kids about your estate plan are really, it boils down to if you've put them in a role in your estate, then you're going to want to explain to them that they're in that role and what that role entails. Whether it'd be personal representative in your will, successor trustee, perhaps healthcare agent primary or secondary, so that they will know what's expected of them and be able to recognize when something happens that they're going to need to step up and take care of that. 

Again, I am Don Rolfe, and until next time, take care. Bye.

About the Author Donald Rolfe

Father, husband, entrepreneur, and owner of a trivia filled brain. I help families and individuals plan for the unexpected and end of life. Schedule a Complimentary Strategy Session to chat with me, get answers to your questions, and find out about your Estate Plan options.

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