how do I talk to my child about estate planning -- Asian woman lying on bed with two children

How to Talk to Your Children About Your Estate Plan

It can be very difficult to think about estate planning and making arrangements for your children after you pass on. Many people struggle to talk about these topics as well, and talking about estate planning with kids can be even harder. The experts at Phelps LaClair can answer all your estate planning questions, including “how do I talk to my children about estate planning, especially when they are young?” Today we’re offering a few tips to help make those difficult discussions as easy as possible. 

At what age can a child understand estate planning? 

It’s best to wait until your child is at least ten years old before explaining concepts like estate planning, wills, and inheritance. Children do not fully understand the concept of death and dying until around the age of 10, and they will have a better concept of money and finances by that age as well. Wait until they are old enough to understand the complex idea of inheritance before telling them about any money or possessions you will leave for them in your will.

How do I talk to my child about estate planning? 

Once your child is old enough to fully understand the concepts of death and inheritance, you should be able to talk to them about estate planning. Here are some tips on how to help the discussion flow more easily. 

Tip 1: Select a Good Time and Location

Discussing your estate plan may not be easy for you or for your children. Try to pick a time when you won’t feel rushed, and select a safe location filled with fond memories that will put everyone at ease, such as the family living room. 

Tip 2: Prepare the Discussion

This is not a time to wing it—preparing for the discussion ahead of time so you can outline everything your child needs to know about your estate plan. Be ready to provide definitions of terms that may be foreign to them. And make sure to have some notes written down in case emotions come into play and you can’t remember everything you wanted to talk about. 

Tip 3: Explain Your Legacy

Discussing your estate plan is a good time to teach your child about your family’s legacy and heirlooms. Help them understand how hard you worked to build up your estate or to contribute to the legacy that your parents started. Describe your spending and saving habits to help instill a sense of your financial values, and then explain how your will can help take care of them after you are gone. 

Tip 4: Offer a Meeting with Your Estate Planner

At the end of the talk, offer your child an opportunity to meet with your estate planner. You might not have answers to all of your child’s questions, so meeting with an expert can put both of your minds at ease. And, bringing your child to a meeting also helps them feel like they are involved in the estate planning process. 

Talking to Children About Estate Planning

One of the biggest questions we hear at Phelps LaClair is “how do you explain estate planning to children?” We hope these tips help you if you want to talk to your children about your estate plan and plans for after you are gone. 

If you need further help discussing your estate plan, or would like to bring your children to a meeting, Phelps LaClair is here to assist. Call us today at 480-892-2488 to schedule an appointment at one of our many convenient locations in Arizona. 

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