Death is not an option; it may sound morbid, but death happens eventually no matter what a person does. What is an option is how you and your family handle estate matters, and deciding to have at least one conversation about the inheritance can make a big difference when it comes to probate litigation. For residents of New York and throughout the country, however, that single conversation can be difficult.
According to a report from UBS Wealth Management, individuals are more likely to have estate planning documents such as a will than they are to discuss those issues with children. A UBS survey reported that 83 percent of participates said they have a will, but only half said they’d discussed the will with their children. Even fewer had discussed details about assets with heirs.
The difficulty of having the talk doesn’t diminish with more or less money, says the report. Despite the fact that so many people don’t talk about the inheritance, the majority of people responding to the survey reported that they wanted transactions to go as smoothly as possible and didn’t want inheritance issues to cause problems between siblings.
Reasons individuals avoid the inheritance discussion include denial about confronting death, a desire to keep heirs from knowing exactly how much they will inherit and general discomfort when discussing money matters. Some parents also reported being worried about how children or other family members will handle finances.
Because you can’t avoid eventual probate issues, having the talk is important. For those who are concerned or uncomfortable with the process, having a third party present may smooth issues. By setting out estate issues in legal documents and discussing those choices with heirs, you can ensure a smoother inheritance process in the future.
Source: New York Times, “What’s Almost as Certain as Death? Not Talking About the Inheritance” Paul Sullivan, Aug. 01, 2014