Two days ago, Kiplinger published a great online article by Jennifer Anderson, “The Family Money Talk You Must Have — Your adult kids should know about your finances and what they can expect.” The article stresses how important — even if difficult — it is for parents to talk to their adult children about estate planning. Many agree that such conversations are important, and yet they often don’t happen.
Though the article talks about several aspects to this challenge, a couple of pieces of specific advice are especially practical: set a specific time for a family conversation and consider an outsider to facilitate the talk.
The specific time allows the family to prepare emotionally (one hopes that will be in a positive way!) It can take time to start to think about death of one’s parents.
Also, an outsider is neutral. That neutrality both allows the outsider to leave emotions aside and removes any perception that the person facilitating the conversation has a personal bias in favor or against anyone else in the family meeting. If a family member attempts to run the meeting, even with a purely rational and impartial approach, the perceptions of the participants may still affect the effectiveness of this essential adult family conversation.