Talking inheritances with the kids

Many people living in Georgia have already completed their estate plans, which could include wills and advance directives. What they may not have done, however, is actually explained to their adult children what these documents contain.

While it's understandable that parents may be uncomfortable discussing a will's provisions with their children, it's often wise to overcome this discomfort. This is because heirs should be prepared to understand and work with an inheritance. Otherwise, confusion, hurt feelings and financial mistakes can occur, particularly as an heir is trying to cope with grief.

For example, many types of inheritances come with specific tax obligations. These include IRAs and annuities. An heir may not realize the tax ramifications of their inheritance, which could lead to problems down the road. Most parents do not want to create additional burdens for their children. This is why being upfront about tax liabilities is an integral part of estate plan communication.

Some experts believe that the best approach to talking about wills is to call a family meeting, either in person, on the phone or via video chat. This offers everyone an opportunity to have a frank discussion about an expected inheritance, tax issues and other aspects of end-of-life planning. Another advantage of a family meeting is that if all siblings are present, everyone will be on the same page.

Individuals and couples who are concerned about estate planning issues may benefit from speaking with an attorney. The lawyer could review the client's circumstances and make recommendations on creating, or updating, an estate plan. An attorney may also help clients communicate effectively with their heirs about wills and ongoing tax responsibilities.

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