While you’re free to do whatever you want with your will, it’s often best not to keep it a secret. You don’t really want there to be any surprises for your children regarding what they’re going to inherit–or, perhaps more importantly, what they’re not going to get.
For one thing, surprises can cause a rift to form between children. One child who does not get something that goes to another child could be angry and resentful. That child may feel that you loved the other child more. At this point, you can’t explain your reasoning, so it’s best to talk it all out in advance to avoid these feelings.
On top of that, a child may tell you something you never would have thought of on your own. Maybe that sports car in the garage is very important to your son, for example, because he remembers riding in it with you as a child, and he doesn’t care as much about getting more money because he’s doing well financially. Talking to your children can help you alter the will to reflect what they actually want and need.
One of the biggest things to do is to make sure that the children’s expectations line up with reality. This is especially true if you fear that they think they’re going to get more than they really are. For example, if you’re leaving a large amount of money to your church or a charity, it may be wise to tell them so they don’t expect to get a portion of it.
As you talk to your children, be sure you also know what legal steps to take to draft your will in New York.
Source: Forbes, “Seven Reasons To Tell Your Kids What They Will (Or Won’t) Inherit,” Deborah L. Jacobs, accessed April 26, 2016