Should you talk to people about your estate plan?
You have set up an estate plan. Your Last Will and Testament, Health Care Proxy, HIPAA Document, and Trusts have been executed. You have named your personal representatives, trustees, and proxies. Now what? Should you talk to anyone about what your estate plan entails?
The simple answer is…it depends. Your family situation is unique to yourself. However, there are some people that you may want to discuss your plan with, if you feel comfortable.
Your Spouse. If you are married you may have executed your estate plan together, in which case your spouse is aware of the provisions of all your important documents. However, if you did your estate plan alone, it could be beneficial to talk with your spouse. Informing them of how assets are being transferred, any marital deduction trusts established, and why the beneficiary of retirement plans have been changed can greatly reduce confusion after your passing.
Your Children. Similar to your spouse, explaining the basics of your estate plan might reduce some stress, confusion, and hostility following your passing. If you are putting assets into trusts, it can help to explain your thinking to your children, they may not be aware of the tax planning or asset protection steps that you took. If you are giving specific gifts to one child over the other, or an uneven distribution of assets, it could be beneficial to explain that to your children now so that any potential family hostility can be reduced.
Your personal representatives, health care proxies, and trustees. It might be beneficial to talk to the individuals you named in your estate planning documents. Does your personal representative want the responsibility of distributing assets to your beneficiaries? Can your health care proxy make a tough medical decision for you? Is your health care proxy prepared or willing to make an end-of-life decision? Is your trustee prepared to administer trust assets for an extended amount of time? Your personal representative, proxies, and trustees each have their own unique responsibilities following your death. In some circumstances you may have named the same person to all these positions. Finding out and knowing whether they are able to take on these responsibilities can ensure that your estate and probate matters move smoothly following your passing.
Contact a lawyer at Lake Shore Legal and allow our office to assist you in preparing a comprehensive estate plan focused on your family and economic situation. We can assist you in explaining the terms and responsibilities of your estate plan to all the individuals named above and any others you see fit. Lake Shore Legal can assist you in having a gathering at our office, electronically, or virtually. Contact Lake Shore Legal today, 508-943-7800