Livens & Reed, PLLC

Should parents discuss their resources with beneficiaries?

Many families in Texas avoid conversations about old age and death. While it is certainly not a subject on which to dwell, certain discussions are necessary. Heirs often find it difficult to locate statements, settle accounts and more because a deceased loved one's finances were not discussed. Silence about inheritances can also lead to contention between beneficiaries down the line.

Adult children may have many concerns about the finances of elderly parents if they avoid conversation about it. Children may want to make sure their parents will receive the necessary long-term care when the time comes. This includes accommodation, pet care and more. However, having no information about the available resources can cause high levels of stress that may even be unnecessary.

Although the dynamics of each family differs, it might be appropriate for parents to sit down and discuss the way in which they intend dividing their assets upon death. Preparing beneficiaries for what they can expect to inherit, and explaining the reasoning behind the decisions, may avoid unhappiness and arguments between siblings. This will also give the children the opportunity to communicate their wishes, although the final decision will lie with the parents.

If family dynamics allow transparency, disputes -- and even litigation -- between beneficiaries can be avoided. However, in some families, the level of conflict can make frank conversations impossible. With the support and guidance of seasoned estate planning attorneys, parents can make sure their wills, testaments and other estate planning documents reflect their latest wishes. An experienced Texas lawyer can also ensure the language of the estate documents complies with the requirements of the law.

Source:, "What You Should Tell Your Heirs While You're Around", Elizabeth O'Brien, Accessed on Dec. 2, 2016

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