After signing your will, your powers of attorney and any other legal documents, you might have curious family members inquire about your finalized estate plan. Some loved ones are only asking because they care, while others might try to figure out if they will receive an inheritance.
As you field these questions, deciding what information to share and what to keep private can help reduce the risk of a contested estate in the future.
No, I should not discuss my estate plan.
You might feel like this intensely personal estate plan is no one’s business other than yours and your spouse’s. Additionally, letting family and friends know who is in the will might lead to unpleasant arguments or further discussions. You might have to manage someone’s hurt feelings.
Or maybe in a previous talk about your end-of-life wishes, everyone dismissed you when you raised the subject.
Yes, I will share my estate plan.
You and your family may have difficulty consciously acknowledging death, so you avoid sharing end-of-life plans. However, psychologists and palliative care professionals often stress the importance of discussing these emotional topics. Sharing your estate plan with close family can serve as a great way to begin the conversation.
Telling your loved ones about your estate plan also benefits them in that they can begin planning for themselves. This discussion may instigate some family fights, but bickering now can help get those disagreements out of the way. You will have a chance to work out the differences before your death.
If you sit down and hold a family meeting to discuss your estate plan, everyone will hear the information simultaneously, leaving less up to interpretation. Sharing your intentions while still alive might decrease the likelihood of contesting the estate after your death.