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Getting into details in family estate planning talks

When it comes to wills, the details matter considerably. From how a will is worded to what steps are taken to execute the will, there are all kinds of little details that can impact what effect a will ends up having and whether the will does end up doing what the person it’s for intended it to do. So, there are all sorts of things it can be important to properly address during the process of forming a will. Estate planning lawyers can help individuals with tackling the various details in this process.

Details can also matter quite a bit when talking about one’s will and estate plan with one’s family members. Specifically, how into details one gets in such conversations can be impactful. For example, when a person is talking about end-of-life planning decisions with a family member they plan to give an inheritance to , letting the family member know how much of an inheritance they are planning on giving them (not necessarily an exact number, but a general idea of the magnitude of the inheritance) could have benefits. For one, it could keep the family member from having unrealistic expectations about what kind of an inheritance they will be getting, which could help prevent problems down the line.

Despite this, many people don’t get much into details when having estate-planning-related discussions with family members. At least this is what a recent survey suggests.

The survey, done by Ameriprise Financial, was of 2,700 Americans. All of the respondents had investable assets of $25,000 or more. They spanned in age between 25 and 70.

The survey found that while it was pretty common for families to have talks regarding end-of-life planning decisions, it was less common for parents to discuss planned inheritance size with their children. Of the survey respondents who said they planned to give their children an inheritance, only 21 percent reported having talked to their kids about the inheritance amount. The survey also had results indicating that it might be fairly common for people’s expectations to be off about the size of an inheritance they will be receiving.

What things do you think can help with getting into details in a productive way when talking about one’s will with family members?

Source: CNBC, “Here's why your kids need to know how much you're leaving them,” Kelli B. Grant, March 15, 2017

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