It may be an uncomfortable topic to bring up at the dinner table, but speaking with your children and loved ones about your estate plan is an important part of the planning process. An open and honest discussion can ensure that your wishes are understood and carried out in an orderly and peaceful fashion. You may also be able to lessen the possibility of conflict among family members in the event of your incapacity or death.
Money and possessions can be a source of tension among family members after the death of a loved one. If tension already exists during your life, you may be reluctant to share specific information about your wealth or plan of distribution. This is especially true if you plan to make the distribution shares unequal. You do not have to share specific information. Sharing basic information may go a long way to help maintain harmony. If you do not want to discuss your distribution plan with your family now, consider leaving a letter or video explaining the reasons for your decisions. Just make sure someone knows where that letter or video can be found.
Your estate plan is not worth the paper it is printed on if no one knows where to find your documents. It is crucial that your children or a trusted individual know where they are kept and have access to them when they are needed. A safety deposit box that no one knows about or can get into can create a difficult situation when the documents are needed.
A candid discussion may be difficult, but it is necessary. Disagreements at the time of life changing events are remembered for years and can sever relationships. Why create that conflict within your family when a family conversation now could prevent it?
Ashley Naramore is an estate planning attorney practicing in Hot Springs, Hot Springs Village, Garland County and surrounding areas in Arkansas.