Estate Planning As You Deal With More Adults

If you have kids, some day, they’re going to be adults. And your planning will get simpler. You no longer have to make sure little kids are taken care of and your money is properly used to raise them. And your plan gets a lot simpler. You don’t have to name guardians. You don’t have to have a complicated will that sets up a trust when you die. Your lengthy will can get a lot simpler.

And you can direct assets to them. Depending on your state, you might even be able to direct enough to try and avoid probate. What was legally complicated, can get a lot less complicated.

However, wherever there are adults, there are opinions. And it’s not just kids. Second spouses, in-laws. Your family dynamic is… more complicated.

You can use these now adults to serve in roles, as your executor for your estate, your financial power of attorney, or health care agent. But these adults might have opinions about serving in those roles. One might feel slighted because you didn’t pick them as a health care agent… or want nothing to do with making your end of life decisions. Opinions on this stuff is normal and useful for you to know.

Another area that adult kids can have opinions on is your money. Those opinions are less useful…. Whatever the situation, kids relying on their parent’s money (or the belief of future money) is problematic. There is no duty for you to leave a “legacy” for your kids. Reliance on your money or expectation of money can cloud their judgment on how they use their own resources and how they view your needs. For the most part, kids opinions on your money should be taken with a grain of salt.

One exception is if you’re a risk of becoming a victim of financial exploitation. Their oversight can be helpful, as long as they’re looking out for you and not what they think they should get some day. Another is if they’ve devoted their working life to a family business. People have every right to be opinionated as to their source of income.

In any case, the best way to deal with adults with opinions and expectations is to communicate. Let them know what to expect. Listen and take into account their opinions in situations where it makes sense. Preventing surprises and setting expectations can go a long way to keep legal issues manageable after you die.

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