Discussing Your Estate Plan – Why You Should Do it Now

August 6, 2012

If you have taken the time to create a comprehensive estate plan, you are ahead of millions of Americans. The next step may be to sit down and talk about your plan with your family. Creating a plan may not work out as you planned if your family ends up in a bitter court battle once you die over the terms of the plan. Talking to them now may prepare them for what is to come.
Most people struggle with whether discussing their estate plan with their family is the best decision. Only you can ultimately answer that question; however, there are many reasons why you may wish to do so.
If you anticipate that someone in the family will not be happy about the terms of the plan, sitting down now and discussing the terms may help that individual come to terms with it. If, for example, you have given one child more than another child as part of your estate plan, explaining why you chose to do so may help ease the anger or hurt caused by the decision. By the same token, if you have chosen to donate a significant portion of your estate, or leave the funds to someone other than your children, they should now this ahead of time so that they can plan accordingly.
On the other hand, if you plan to leave a significant amount of your estate to a beneficiary who may not be expecting it, it may also be helpful to discuss your plans and advise the intended beneficiary how best to handle the inheritance.  Either way, the best way to ensure that your plan unfolds as you want it to is often to make sure everyone knows what to expect.

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