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What parents can do to help adult children without estate plans

Some Florida parents might be in conflict with their children over estate planning, or lack thereof. Many baby boomers who have future finances secured do not understand why their millennial or Generation X children are not prioritizing estate planning in the same way. These children may feel too overwhelmed with the pressures of debt and daily life to worry about an estate plan.

A solution might be for parents to offer to pay for the plan. In such cases, most children will take the assistance. However, there are several caveats to using this approach. Family patterns of conflict can be hard to break, and parents should consider the best way to bring up an idea. They may want to tie the discussion to a family death or birth. Some families find that bringing along a third party can help with the discussion, but parents should not spring the discussion on their kids without warning. This could backfire.

Parents also need to respect their children’s boundaries. Paying for the estate plan does not give them the right to know what is in the plan unless the children choose to share it with them. Sometimes, the attorney who works with the children on the estate plan has to enforce this privacy. Even after the initial plan has been created, it’s important to go back and review it every few years or when there are changes in the family or assets. In some cases, an estate plan might also need to be revised following tax law changes. An attorney could assist a client in deciding what elements are needed in a plan. For example, an estate owner may want to include documents that appoint someone to take over finances and medical decision making in cases of incapacitation.