Paul Sullivan’s weekly Wealth Matters column in the NY Times addresses a common estate planning problem, parents not discussing their plan with their children. The article begins as follows:
IF there is a boogeyman when it comes to family conversations about inheritance, it is not death. That happens whether people talk about financial plans or not. It’s the $40 trillion that financial advisers say their baby boomer clients are going to pass to their children either in an orderly way — or in a chaotic mess.
A report by UBS on why families should talk about inheritance confirms the reluctance of people to talk about death and money.
It’s easier to have a will (83 percent of respondents have one) than discuss the will with your children (about half have) and harder still to tell them what the assets are (34 percent of respondents have).
Wealthy and less wealthy people are equally bad at talking about their plans with their children. (Fifty-five percent of people with more than $1 million talk to their children about an inheritance, while 53 percent of people with less than $1 million do.)
And most parents want the transfer of money to their children to go smoothly (84 percent), without creating bad feelings among siblings (66 percent.)