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Does estate planning as a parent mean I have to tell my kids?

Although every family in Oklahoma is unique, many parents still include their adult children in their estate plan. This tends to create a bit of a conundrum for parents who are unsure what information they should share with their adult children regarding their wills. There might be no universal answer that is appropriate for each and every family, but there are certain considerations that can help parents decide which estate planning approach is best suited for their family.

Some individuals view the contents of an estate plan as deeply personal and private. Wills tend to contain personal information that some people do not necessarily want to be made public prior to their death. This might be especially true for families who are not necessarily close to one another and otherwise do not spend a significant amount of time together.

However, some parents find that letting children in on the plan is the best choice for them. This is especially true if parents have planned out unequal inheritances, as explaining the thought process behind this type of decision can help prevent unnecessary fighting that could result in lengthy probate proceedings. Some parents also believe that keeping their children up to date with their current estate plans can help alleviate some of the pressure after their deaths.

Estate planning is often portrayed as a cold, sterile duty that is only really applicable after a person's death, but it is often a very personal experience. Deciding who to let in on those plans is often just as personal as what a will actually contains. Ultimately, it is up to each individual in Oklahoma to decide who is privy to his or her private information, a decision that can sometimes be helped with the right guidance.

Source:, "What should we tell the kids?", Christopher Yugo, July 10, 2016

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