Newport Beach attorney Darlynn Morgan explains the California estate planning process and why it can be a good idea to involve your adult children.

“How much do you tell your kids? When do you tell them? Is it possible to tell your kids too much, too soon? What happens if you tell them too little, too late?”  These are common questions that come up when deciding whether to involve adult children in the California estate planning process.

The answers to these questions vary and are typically decided by the stage of life your children are in and how much they’re equipped to handle.

Finances are the number one concern when it comes to involving kids in the estate planning process. Some kids aren’t financially literate, and some parents feel their finances should be private. This is especially true when adult children are still in their 20s or 30s and just starting families on their own. Their parents are still active and capable of handling their own affairs without any issues.

But the landscape could be very different 10 or 15 years down the road. The kids are now older and more mature, and once the parent moves deeper into their retirement years, they may be more willing to share financials. Someone eventually needs to assume those responsibilities, and most parents want their children to do it. If this sounds like your situation, then you should understand why it’s so important for your kids to know where your accounts are held, along with any other relevant financial information.

End-of-life decisions are the other key factor in most estate plans. We often do not discuss these matters with our children, but if we don’t, we risk leaving our loved ones with the terrible burden of having to guess what our wishes at the end of life would be. Your loved ones should at least know about your preferences, such as whether you want your life prolonged by medical means or if you do not want to be resuscitated.

If you don’t involve your adult children into the planning process at some point, they will be left without the knowledge or tools to make sure you’re taken care of the way you want to be. Courts and doctors with their own agendas may become involved, and your family may suffer as a result.

If you’re ready to start the estate planning process, or if you have questions about revisiting your parents’ estate plan to make sure it still fits their needs, please contact us at (949) 260-1400 to set up a consultation.