The subject of inheritance is one that most people studiously avoid for a number of different reasons: superstition, fear, lack of knowledge, or—as this article by Gordon Powers points out—they don’t want to appear greedy. Furthermore, many older adults were raised to believe that money was a private affair, and that talking about it was inappropriate, almost dirty. The difference in how the older and younger generations view money and its place in “polite conversation” has become so great in some cases, that it’s no wonder they avoid any mention of it.
An unfortunate side effect of this disconnect is that a refusal to talk about money or your estate plans with you children means that they will have a difficult time following your wishes in regards to inheritance. According to Mr. Powers (and most of the adult children who come into our offices to create their own estate plans) “most middle-aged adults really want to fulfill their parents’ last wishes, regardless of how much money they might or might not see in the end.”
So the answer to the title question is yes, you should talk to your children about inheritance if you can. Talking about it will not only make it easier for them to follow your wishes, it may even help you determine how you want to make a difference in the lives of your heirs.
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