When you begin working on your estate plan, one of the things you may be told to do is to talk to your loved ones about your decisions. Though this is often a difficult conversation to have, it’s important that you consider talking to your heirs, beneficiaries, executor and Power of Attorney agents, so you know that everyone is on the same page and has heard your decisions coming from your mouth.
While it’s hard for many people to talk about death and life that will continue once they’re gone, the conversation should really happen at some point. This is because you’ll be able to prevent serious conflicts and litigation if you’re honest with people now and know if there is someone who may cause problems later.
When you’ve made your estate plan, it’s time to discuss it
Ideally, you will have already spoken to those who will hold the executor or power of attorney roles before assigning them to do so in your estate planning documents. If you haven’t, it’s vital that you do so.
You should talk to them about several things, starting with your decision to put them in a role that would help you during incapacitation or following your death. You should also discuss why you chose them for that role and make sure that others agree or have their disagreements heard.
If someone you’ve appointed to a role says that they don’t want to take it on, then you should appoint someone else. If there are complaints about who you’ve assigned to a role, listen to them, and then make it clear why you’ve made the decisions you have. It’s a good idea to have everyone you plan to appoint at that same meeting, so they’re all on the same page by the end of it.
It’s also a good idea to have a meeting if there is anyone you excluded from your will or estate plan. For example, if you gave one of your children $50,000 this year and have willed $50,000 to the other in the future, it would be a good idea to point out that the reason the first child isn’t in the will is because of that gift.
These are a few things to think about. An estate planning discussion with your family could help them avoid disputes in the future.