With the current state of global affairs, it’s no surprise that many hope to get their own affairs in order in case of an untimely end. While considering the future might be daunting, it is even more so when it involves family.
Deciding how to proceed with your will and inheritances is a conversation that requires the presence of those who are involved. For many Los Angeles natives, that requires estate planning with family.
Having your children involved in your estate plan might be a difficult conversation to broach, but ultimately it is for the best. With the pandemic on-going, we can continue to hope for the best, but we must also plan for the worst.
Here’s a quick guide on how to estate plan with children:
Find the right time to talk about it.
As with many touchy subjects, choosing when to discuss estate planning with your children can cause some tension and apprehension. Regardless of difficult feelings however, it is a conversation that needs to be broached, and as soon as possible.
While many advise that the most polite way to bring up estate planning is to wait for a big life-changing event, time is of the essence. Ask your children to come together for a serious conversation, and make sure that everyone is present, accounted for, and involved. This is not a subject one child might wish to hear about from their other sibling, rather it is a topic that must be brought up by you.
Be upfront about any LA estate planning you may have already done.
If you’ve already made some plans for your Los Angeles estate, it is important to ensure your children are aware of it, and if anything needs to be updated to better serve your current situation.
There are a number of things to consider if you initially created an estate when your children were younger.
Child-specific trust rules might have been updated over time.
If you began estate planning for your family when your children were younger, changes might need to be made to your plans if your children are now adults. Safeguards you might have set up for your children in that trust may no longer be relevant, and your concerns and priorities might have changed as your children have entered adulthood.
In fact, you might be considering having your adult children serve as the executor of your will, or otherwise might appoint them with power of attorney, health care provider, or trustee positions.
If you have been married multiple times, you might need to update the plans for your estate.
Another thing to consider is if you have been married multiple times and how that affects your estate planning.
Having your children involved with estate planning will give them a clear idea of who receives which part of your estate, especially if you have another spouse or other children. It can be a sensitive topic to broach, but transparency and communication is the most important. This is also the best time to broach the subject of long-term healthcare planning.
Ensure your children know their roles to avoid surprises.
It’s important to ensure your children are aware of their roles in your estate to avoid surprising them. There are a few life decisions involving inheritance. It also allows them to develop long-term plans.
Be sure to cover important estate-planning concerns.
Now that you’ve broached the topic with your children and made them aware of their roles and your plans for your estate, you can proceed with addressing important topics in an on-going conversation.
It’s highly unlikely that you will cover all concerns in one sit-down talk, but opening the door on the topic of your estate can allow you and your children to make better-informed decisions moving forward.
You might want to bring up the following concerns:
Review your current estate plan with your children and a Los Angeles probate attorney present. Doing so ensures your children understand what the documents contain and how they will be administered upon your passing.
With everyone present, you can also discuss your thoughts regarding certain decisions you have made for your estate, and let them know what plans you have put in place for them. You can have them ask questions, bring up their own concerns, and generally ensure that all of them are on the same page as you are.
Money is a difficult subject to bring up, but a net-worth statement allows your children to understand your overall wealth. Apart from giving your heirs an idea of their potential inheritance, it also allows them peace of mind that you have enough to cover expenses for later in your life, such as health or medical expenses.
Power of Attorney
Estate plans often include power of attorney for granting authority to handle financial matters.
You may select a power of attorney for healthcare and digital assets among your children.
The power of attorney for healthcare gives your children the capacity to make medical decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated. You can initiate conversations with them regarding your long-term care, life-sustaining procedures, and medical decisions. A clear plan from you may help your children make difficult decisions in the long-run.
The power of attorney for digital assets grants access to your electronic devices and any online assets.
Trusts are among the most convenient and easy ways to set up an estate plan for your children. Setting up a trust in advance can allow your children to avoid the probate process, and can even cover the cost of your long-term care in the future.
While you might not have to set one up for your estate, it is still a conversation you can involve your family in. Discuss the pros and cons of setting up a trust, and ensure your children are well-informed.
Finally, set your long-term goals together.
You’ve maintained open and transparent communication with your children. You’ve gotten them to open up about their thoughts on the difficult conversation of what happens once you pass. Now, make sure to maintain that transparency as you move forward with estate planning for your family.
Set long-term goals together, and keep your children involved in decisions you make. This will avoid any unpleasant surprises, and further strengthen the bond between you and your children.
If you’re looking to work with a probate attorney in Los Angeles, consider reaching out to the Law Offices of R. Grace Rodriguez. We are a local probate and estate firm that is happy to work with you to ensure that you and your loved ones are adequately prepared for the future. Contact 818-734-7223 or 805-364-0884 to learn more.