Skip to main content

Sharing Your Estate Plans With Your Family

Wells Fargo Private Bank discusses the importance of sharing your finances and estate planning information with your family.

Updated November 2018 — Podcast Transcript

Host: Rob Miles, Senior Vice President, Wells Fargo Private Bank

Guest: Katie Pehrson, a Senior Wealth Planner, Wells Fargo Private Bank


How aware is your family of your wishes and their roles if you should pass way unexpectedly? This is not an easy discussion to have, let alone think about. But in sharing your wishes with them you can avoid putting them through added stress should the worst case happen.

I’m Rob Miles, Senior Vice President for Wells Fargo Private Bank, and this is “Your Financial Journey,” a podcast series that explores common financial issues that we all face. I am joined today by Katie Pehrson, a Senior Wealth Planner at Wells Fargo Private Bank, to discuss the importance of sharing your estate planning information with your family. Welcome, Katie, and thanks for joining us today.


Thanks, Rob. It’s good to be here.


Katie, let’s jump right in. The topic of death, as I mentioned, and our estate plans is one that many of us would obviously rather not think about, not to mention discuss with family members. Tell us a little more.


That’s definitely right, Rob. It’s a difficult topic. And, even with adult children, parents are often hesitant to share sensitive information about finances and estate planning. But the benefits of having these conversations is that it prevents your heirs from having to go on a wild goose chase to locate important documents or to interpret how you want your assets distributed at a period in their lives when they are already distressed. At a minimum, I would recommend sharing basic documents so your children know how to locate them, and [they] should know who is appointed to represent your estate.


Katie, clearly sharing this information can be beneficial for the family. So, what are these specific documents you’re recommending?


Well, there are three documents I recommend sharing and, more importantly, working with your legal professional to create if you haven’t done so already. First is a durable power of attorney, which authorizes whoever is appointed to act on your behalf for financial matters. Secondly, a living will that outlines your wishes regarding withholding or withdrawing life-prolonging procedures if you become incapacitated. And lastly, a health care power of attorney, which gives the person the power to make health care decisions if you’re unable to do so.


Katie, great. So once these documents are in place, is there other information you think that folks should be discussing with their families?


Definitely. I would say talk to your children or other family members about long-term insurance coverage, or future plans to sell your home and live in an adult community.

Another topic to consider discussing with your kids is how your finances may impact them. Will you need to depend on them for assistance or will you be gifting, loaning, or leaving assets to them? Adult children also need to plan for their own future, so knowing what you expect to do for them or what you may need from them allows them to plan appropriately.


Katie, that makes a lot of sense. Children [may be] counting on a loan from you to start a business or fund their own children’s education, so factoring these expectations in your discussions with them really can make a difference.


Absolutely. It is also important to tell them about your estate plan so they can plan for their future more effectively. Some parents may be sensitive about telling their children how much they plan to leave them, but you can share the goals behind your plan along with the structure—like how assets will flow at your death—without providing specific details. You will also want to share with them with the person you have picked to be the executor or trustee of your estate.


Katie, obviously very good and profound points. For our listeners, let me summarize what I’ve been hearing: Talking about financial matters and death is difficult for all involved, we can all agree to that, but the increased knowledge that family members can gain by having these discussions will likely far outweigh the discomfort. Also, there are three basic documents everyone should have and share with your family: durable power of attorney, a living will, and last, a health care power of attorney.


That’s exactly right, Rob. Whatever the situation, sharing this information can be beneficial to all parties. And, keep in mind that sharing your financial information helps your children plan for their own future, as well.


So, Katie, I want to thank you for your time and your perspective today and I also want to thank our listeners for joining this podcast. Please join me next time, when we’ll discuss giving to charitable causes. This is “Your Financial Journey.”

What can Wells Fargo do for you?

As you think about your legacy and wealth transfer goals, take time to sit down with your wealth management professional and outline your vision.

Wells Fargo Wealth Planning Center, part of Wells Fargo Private Bank, provides wealth and financial planning services through Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., and its various affiliates and subsidiaries.

Wells Fargo Private Bank and Wells Fargo Wealth Management provide products and services through Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., and its various affiliates and subsidiaries. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., is a bank affiliate of Wells Fargo & Company.

Deposit and loan products are offered by Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. Member FDIC.

This information is provided for education and illustration purposes only.


Sign up to receive monthly email updates of what’s new at Wells Fargo Conversations.

Please submit a valid email address.

Thanks for subscribing!

You should receive a confirmation email shortly.

Your privacy is important. Read our privacy policy.