As a parent and spouse, you always were prepared, anticipating matters well beforehand and addressing them before complications surfaced. This philosophy served you well through the years, and it will serve you well when it comes to estate planning.
It is a good strategy to share with your family key information and your intentions regarding your estate and its assets. Your spouse and children may feel uncomfortable, but this is a necessary discussion. It just may eliminate any surprises upon learning the details of a will or a trust.
Your choices and documents
What do you talk about? There are plenty of things that need immediate attention, and they may include:
- The reasons for the choices you have made: Clearly explain why you decided to leave certain assets to a specific heir or even to a charity. You also should address the reasons you selected certain people as the executor, trustee, guardian of your children as well as durable and health care powers of attorney.
- The locations of critical documents: This would include copies of your will, finance- and investment-related paperwork, life insurance policies as well as digital assets. Perhaps you store them in a cabinet, safe, safe deposit box or online.
- Who receives the assets of sentimental value: These items may not have a lot of monetary value, but they sure mean a great deal to your family. Who gets the dresser that has been in the family for four generations? Who gets the photographs, clothing and antiques?
Do not procrastinate, but also choose the right time to have this discussion. It would not be a good idea to do so during a family crisis. Have that discussion during uplifting times in the lives of family members.
Sensitive discussions, family members at ease
Since this may be a delicate conversation, proceed with great care. Delicate matters must be handled with a great amount of sensitivity. However, ultimately, your family will gain peace of mind in knowing certain details of your estate plan.