Discussing your estate plan with your family can be challenging, as it involves discussing often unpleasant topics such as finances, old age, illness and death. However, navigating these difficult discussions while you’re still in good health can have significant benefits.
There may be several reasons why you are hesitant to share your future plans, particularly those related to your estate, with your family. However, the benefits below may sway your decision:
It can prevent misunderstandings
The passing or incapacity of a loved one can put a family in disarray. In your absence, emotional strains could drive certain family members to question the details of your estate plan, possibly leading to conflicts with other loved ones.
Discussing your plan now can help mitigate potential disputes and clarify your objectives directly. Knowing your true intentions could give your loved ones a sense of closure and acceptance that may help ease their pain during such a difficult time.
It can help prepare your family members for the future
If you intend to bequeath assets and properties to your family, sharing this information in advance can give you the opportunity to guide them on how to manage these resources. Often, heirs kept in the dark about family wealth make poor decisions with their inheritance.
Clearly communicating your wishes and providing your heirs with guidance may alleviate any concerns you or they may have. Moreover, having these talks may empower your loved ones to make informed decisions that align with your intentions.
It can ensure that your wishes are respected
Making plans for your passing or incapacity may not sit well with your loved ones. Still, it’s vital that you have this talk with them now so that they’re ready for it if and when it does occur.
To ensure that your medical preferences are respected, appoint this responsibility to someone you trust. When your health care agent knows exactly what you want, they can make decisions and push for the medical treatment you prefer.
Navigating difficult conversations
Whether or not you tell loved ones about your estate plan will depend on factors, including the complexity of your estate and family dynamics. You could choose to involve just a few members or incorporate everyone. There is no universal approach to this, but an estate planning attorney may help provide clarity on opening such discussions.