The Herald – Monterey County: When it comes to family interaction and communication there is as much variety as there are families.
Some parents hold their financial information close to the vest, build their wealth and, once the estate planning is done, tuck those documents away and never discuss the plans with children. Another family may have a child who begs and pleads with parents to “get your affairs in order” only to have an unplanned, expensive estate administration to contend with once the parents pass on.
Then there is the parent who will call the family together, begin to discuss estate plans and is greeted by a crescendo of “Oh, don’t worry Mom, you are still young!” or “We don’t care about your money — we just love you!” However well-intentioned the children are in this case, when a parent broaches the subject of their wealth and end-of-life plans, children must listen and lend support.
Let’s face it, very few people enjoy talking about death and dying and some people never undertake the planning process, leaving family members to either guess about what Mom may have wanted done or have state law govern their actions. So, if a parent comes to you and says, “I want to talk with you about my will,” please set aside the fact that it makes you uncomfortable and listen to them.
Once you have heard their plans, a few things may happen. Here are some suggestions about what you should and should not say in response.