Why isn’t estate planning as much about communicating personal and family needs as making tax and financial decisions?
Consider the results of a 2013 Merrill Lynch Retirement Study. The study found evidence of a significant lack of communication between adult children and their parents about issues such as long term care, where to live, wills and financial situation. 70% of participants aged 25+ had not discussed these topics in depth with their parents; 56% of those aged 50+ had not had discussions about these issues with their adult children.
While it may not come as a big surprise that we don’t find it easy to talk to our families about estate and personal planning issues, the good news is that the study found that where individuals aged 50+ had discussed key financial topics with adult children, they were twice as likely to indicate that they felt prepared to deal with family challenges that might occur in the future, including the loss of a spouse and/or health issues (compared with individuals who had not had such discussions).
Participants in the study chose financial peace of mind (37%) and helping family members communicate better about financial decisions (33%) as the top 2 reasons for involving an advisor in multigenerational estate planning.
Consider mediation. Get talking.