If you’re one of the 33% of Americans who have an estate plan, as reported by AARP, you know that when creating an estate plan, you make many important decisions. These decisions not only affect you, but they also impact your family.
One of the hard decisions you have to make is whether or not you should discuss your estate plan with your family.
The benefits of open communication
Discussing your estate plan with your family can have many benefits. It can eliminate surprises, minimize disputes and provide an opportunity for your loved ones to understand your wishes. It also allows you to explain your decisions, which can reduce potential misunderstandings or hurt feelings.
Concerns about privacy and conflict
However, there can also be reasons not to share your estate plan with your family. If you have concerns about privacy, you might not want to disclose your financial information. Also, if your decisions could cause conflict, you might choose not to share the details. For example, if you decide to leave more to one child than another, discussing this in advance could lead to hard feelings and disputes.
Deciding what to share
If you decide to discuss your estate plan, you do not have to share every detail. You might choose to share general information about your assets and how you plan to distribute them. Or, you might share specific information, such as who you named as your executor or what medical treatments you want if you become incapacitated.
Including your family in the planning process
Another approach is to include your family in the estate planning process. You could ask for their input on certain decisions, like who should serve as your executor or guardian for your minor children. However, remember that the final decisions are up to you.
Deciding whether to discuss your estate plan with your family is a personal choice that depends on many factors. Considering the potential benefits and drawbacks can help you make this important decision. Whether or not you choose to share your estate plan, remember that the goal is to create a plan that carries out your wishes and provides for your loved ones.