Parents often neglect to talk about estate planning with their grown-up children, feeling that such a conversation will just make everyone uncomfortable. However, this can lead to a lot of issues down the line because children may have unrealistic expectations or there may be confusion about what a parent really wanted. Estate disputes can erupt.

Communication is important and can prevent a lot of estate problems. Here are four tips that can help during that conversation:

  1. Talk about items that cannot be split. Money can be divided as many ways as you need to divide it. Family heirlooms cannot. These cause many disputes. Talking about your plans helps ensure that children know what is coming.
  2. Talk about unequal giving. If you have two children and one is going to get more than the other, you need to tell them why. This can give them realistic expectations and help avoid arguments and hurt feelings later.
  3. Be honest. Let the children ask questions. Be open and give them all of the information that they want and need. Even if you feel uncomfortable, this attitude helps the conversation become productive.
  4. Be positive. This conversation does not have to center around how they may be using the estate plan soon. Tell them that you’re still feeling good and healthy and that you hope they won’t need to use it for decades. Explain that you just do not want to put it off for too long when you know how much it can benefit your family.

As you make your estate plans, be sure you understand all of the legal options you have. You need to craft a plan that helps your loved ones adjust and reduces the odds of a dispute.