“When should my children accompany me to my estate planning meetings?” By Attorney Jon J. Gasior
When setting up an estate plan, one thing that many families struggle with is whether to bring their children to their estate planning consultations.
Estate planning consultations can be difficult for many families. The discussion often revolves around death, disability, money, and control of assets. Because of the nature of the discussion it is a very personal decision whether or not to involve your children or other family members.
There are a few things to consider when deciding whether or not to bring your children.
- By bringing your child to an estate planning meeting, you may be breaking the attorney client privilege because that child is hearing that discussion. If you want to ensure that the privilege is protected, it is best to do the consultation alone.
- If there are multiple children, you may be setting the stage for an argument. By only involving one child when there are others, their siblings may feel left out and more likely to attempt to challenge the plan.
- If you feel uncomfortable or pressured by that child, it may be best to do the consultation without them. The attorney preparing your estate plan represents you, no one else, and will act in your interests. If you feel that the child may influence you to make certain decisions, or attempt to pressure the attorney, we want to avoid this situation so as not to create an undue influence claim challenge after your death.
- On the other hand, if you feel like that child will provide comfort and support through the important process of estate planning, they can be a valuable advisor throughout the process to ensure that you are making decisions that will work for your entire family.
I always tell clients, there is no normal family situation. Everyone has different family dynamics and it is important to consider those dynamics when including your family in your estate planning decision making. If you need assistance with your estate plan, contact us today.
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