Discussing Your Estate Finances with Your Children

Key Takeaways

  • It’s important to be proactive in sharing information about your money with your children.
  • You don’t want them to be surprised and unprepared by a large inheritance.
  • Revealing the details of your wealth can be done slowly, over time.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. This applies to many things in life, and it certainly applies when sharing information about your money with your children and grandchildren. It’s not always an easy subject to broach, but it doesn’t have to be done all at once. It can be done very slowly, both through actions and conversations, over time.

Chances are, your children already have an idea of how well you’re doing. Most of us come to understand a person’s wealth by observing them over time. It’s likely not a big mystery to your children, but when it comes to sharing specific details, many parents hesitate. They worry that the information will change their children’s work ethics, cause them to rely on their parents indefinitely, and otherwise alter how they behave.

Money does create a lot of fear. It’s often insidious, and it affects many different facets of our lives: emotional, social, and physical. So try approaching the topic one step at a time. When your children and grandchildren become adults, be proactive in letting them know, “We have an estate that will result in your receiving X amount at some point,” or “We earn X amount each year, which is why we’re able to take trips and spend money on certain things.”

Most children will start asking questions, so it’s good to be prepared in telling them how this wealth will affect them. Simply inheriting millions of dollars, with no forewarning, can be extremely destructive. It’s important to realize that the transition period needs to start with conversations before they receive the money.

So unless you’re planning to donate everything to charity (which some do, and that’s wonderfully generous), have the conversations to prepare your children and grandchildren. Just start with the first step, and the rest will come naturally over time. Until next time, enjoy.


Gary Klaben is in our Glenview, IL office and serves our clients who are now located all over the country. He has over 30 years of experience and is the author of Changing the Conversation, Wealth of Everything and co-author of The Business BattlefieldWhether advising his clients, mentoring his team, or coaching entrepreneurs, he is always simplifying complexity and motivating others to take the next action that’s right for them.

Learn more about TransformingWealth™ , our proprietary approach designed to get your arms around the big picture, so you can make informed financial decisions. Ask Gary about Coyle’s TransformingWealth Preview Meeting and schedule a complimentary consultation and start living the Good Life Managed Well™.
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All information is from sources deemed reliable, but no warranty is made to its accuracy or completeness.   This material is being provided for informational or educational purposes only, and does not take into account the investment objectives or financial situation of any client or prospective client.  The information is not intended as investment advice, and is not a recommendation to buy, sell, or invest in any particular investment or market segment.  Those seeking information regarding their particular investment needs should contact a financial professional.  Coyle, our employees, or our clients, may or may not be invested in any individual securities or market segments discussed in this material.  The opinions expressed were current as of the date of posting, but are subject to change without notice due to market, political, or economic conditions.

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