You’re doing your estate planning, deciding how you’re going to pass your assets on to your children. You’re picking roles for them, such as naming one the executor of the estate, and deciding what you think is best for their lives moving forward.

It may seem obvious to you that you need to talk to the kids about all of this, but a surprising amount of people fail to do so. A lack of communication is a serious issue that shows up in a lot of surveys.

For instance, 92 percent of parents who were asked said that they planned to make one of their kids the estate’s executor. That’s fine. It’s very common.

However, they identified the children they planned to pick. When they were asked, 27 percent had no idea they were going to get that role. More than a quarter of the parents hadn’t told them, even though this is one of the most important jobs in estate planning.

What is very interesting is that parents and children don’t always even agree on what conversations have taken place. For instance, 52 percent of children said they hadn’t sat down to talk in detail about estate planning. At the same time, 69 percent of the parents claimed they actually had not just gotten together, but actually held detailed conversations. It’s clear there is a breakdown in communication at some point, and it could lead to parents and kids not even realizing that they’re not on the same page.

It’s very important for everyone involved in estate planning to know their rights, their obligations and how the process will play out.

Source: Star Tribune, “Communication is big missing element in estate planning,” Chris Farrell, accessed Nov. 17, 2017