When constructing a comprehensive estate plan, many Texas couples are unsure whether or not they should discuss the details of those plans with their adult children. There are various reasons for avoiding the subject, not the least of which is a desire to avoid contention within the family if the children will not inherit equal shares of the family's estate. However, this is also the primary reason why parents should discuss the content of their wills with their children, so that any familial strife can be worked through before a death in the family increases the level of tension and stress.
In Texas and elsewhere similar familial dramas tend to play out in a small percentage of estates. When an individual dies, the estate administration process is commenced and administered by the personal representative, who is usually a child or other close relative appointed in the will. The representative, or executor of the will, is charged with paying the bills, collecting the assets, making all government filings and tax returns, and ultimately distributing the assets according to the will.
In Texas and other states it’s not uncommon for the beneficiaries of a deceased family member to ask the attorney handling the estate when the estate will be finalized. In fact, legal experts say that it’s normal for beneficiaries to ask the attorney to explain the process of estate administration and for a ballpark estimate on time. Having a communicating relationship with counsel and the executor is a wise thing to do.