Estate planning requires the use of legal instruments, such as wills and trusts, to implement an individual’s wishes after they die. It’s a very important consideration in a person’s life, but a recent study by Fidelity Investment shows many parents do not discuss their estate planning needs adequately with their adult children.

According to the Fidelity study, almost one half of all adult children feel they have not had enough discussion with their parents on estate planning issues such as eldercare, inheritance, and retirement planning. The two generations also sharply disagree on the details of these issues.

The study showed one-fourth of adult children believe they will need to financially assist their parents during their retirement, while almost all of the parents in the study did not believe they would require financial help. The children were more likely to want a discussion on estate planning issues before the parents retired, while the parents were more likely to wait until entering retirement to have this discussion.

Adult children also underestimated the value of their parents’ estate by an average of more than $100,000. The parents in the Fidelity study had at least $100,000 to invest and were at least 55 years of age. The children were more than 30 years of age and had at least $10,000 in savings.

Anyone considering retirement in Michigan should begin planning their estate now to ensure their assets are divided in accordance with their wishes. Common legal issues in estate planning include minimizing inheritance taxes, charitable contributions, and protection for minor children.

Source: Forbes, “Generations Apart: Talking Retirement And Estate Planning Over Turkey,” Ashlea Ebeling, Nov. 21, 2012