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Survey shows families do not communicate about estate planning

Although 90 percent of parents and adult children believe families should have detailed discussions about their estates, about half of them have actually done so. This is according to a recent study by Fidelity Investments. There also seems to be a major disconnect between parents and children about many of the details of estate planning, including when it should be done. Families in Oklahoma may not be as ready for their futures as they think they are, especially if they have not scheduled a time to express their wishes.

The survey asked parents about their children's perception of their estate plans. Most parents remembered having open discussions with their children about their wishes, but over half of the children could not recall such a conversation. In fact, only about 67 percent of children said they knew where their parents kept important estate documents even though 80 percent of parents said their children would know where to find the papers.

Because of the intricate makeup of many families these days, estate planning advisors recommend parents initiate conversations about their plans well before their health begins to decline. Having documents organized and a clear understanding of the most crucial topics is a good place to begin. Advisors recommend checking in with one's family occasionally to update them on any changes one may make to the estate plan.

Before gathering the family for an estate planning meeting, it is helpful to consult an Oklahoma attorney to make sure one's plan is appropriate for his or her circumstances. A lawyer will be able to review one's plan and make adjustments according to the family dynamic. He or she will also be able to update one regarding any changes in estate planning law or new options for protecting one's assets.

Source:, "Study Finds Parent-Child Disconnect on Discussing Estate Plans", Michael S. Fischer, Feb. 1, 2017

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