WHO SHOULD YOU DISCUSS YOUR ESTATE PLAN WITH?
Jan. 27, 2016
When you create an estate plan, the first question that will be on your mind is whom you should discuss your wishes with. Unfortunately, the answer isn't as simple as you might think.
Keeping an Estate Plan Secret
Some individuals feel that their estate plan is private; therefore they shouldn't have to share it with anyone. Some people do this to hide their net worth from family members and protect against any challenges before they have passed away. While it does add a portion of protection when beneficiaries don't know what they're receiving, it can also lead to confusion and family feuds down the road. Family members may feel they didn't receive a fair portion, animosity between siblings can brew and unfortunately, you won't be there to clarify your decisions.
SHARING YOUR PLAN WITH CLOSE FAMILY
Most estate planning professionals recommend sharing your estate plan with your immediate family -- especially those named in your will. By speaking openly with family about your estate plan, there aren't any surprises down the road. You can discuss any negative feelings toward your estate plan early and resolve any issues or confusions about your decisions. Consider having an open forum meeting with all beneficiaries and loved ones. Discuss what you are thinking for your estate plan before you actually create it. By explaining your decisions and discussing it openly, you may be able to avoid any costly courtroom battles in the future.
Always discuss your concerns with your estate planning professional. If you are worried about someone contesting your will, have your attorney draft a contest clause that better protects your estate. While your estate planning is certainly private, keeping beneficiaries and family members involved in the process may prove beneficial in the end.