How to Talk to Your Family About Your Estate Plan

How to Talk to Your Family About Your Estate Plan

How to Talk to Your Family About Your Estate Plan

We have all seen movies and TV shows with dramatic readings of a will. While that is a great way to increase the drama, in real life, it is not ideal. Depending on your relationship with your family and other loved ones, it is often better to talk to your family about what your estate plan entails, long before you die.

Why tell your family about your estate plan?

Assuming that you have a positive relationship with your family, letting them know what to expect can be positive. The fewer surprises they encounter in their time of grief, the better. It is also a good idea to let them know where to find your will, advance directives and other important documents, as well as identify who the personal representative, trustees, agents and other key people are.

How much detail should you offer?

How much detail you offer is up to you, but navigating these issues can be tricky. For example, if you have two adult children, you might feel comfortable telling them that your estate will be divided equally between them. But if your wishes are more complex—such as leaving one child’s inheritance in trust because they cannot be trusted with lump sums—you may decide to leave out certain details. Keep in mind that the younger you are, the more likely it is that your wishes will change over time.

It is also helpful to give your family a general idea of what is in your estate, such as bank accounts, retirement accounts and other assets. No need to give amounts, especially since that can change, but consider letting them know what to look for.

Finally, it is extremely important to talk to your family about your medical and funeral wishes. Consider giving them a copy of your advance directive, prepaid funeral expense paperwork and more. If you include these wishes in your will, they may not be discovered until after they are needed.

An attorney can help you execute a will and advise you on how to talk to your family. Call the skilled estate planning attorneys at Baumann Kangas Estate Law in Tampa, FL for help.