Understandably, most people prefer not to talk about their own death or the possibility of becoming incapacitated someday. Likewise, the idea of sitting down and discussing the eventual death of a parent, grandparent, or other loved one probably doesn’t sound like much fun either. These discussions, however, should occur. If you have recently created, or updated, your own estate plan it is wise to share at least the basics of that plan with close loved ones as well as with individuals who play an important role in the plan. If you are trying to figure out how to have a conversation about your estate plan, consider the following:
- Consider likely reactions– many of your preparations will hinge on how you expect people to react. If you expect beneficiaries to be angry or offended, for example, you might not want to have the meeting in public.
- Decide where– Consider asking your estate planning attorney about having the meeting at his/her office. It provides privacy while still evoking an atmosphere where people are likely to behave appropriately. If you do not anticipate any negative reactions to your decisions, discussing your plan over dinner at the family home might put everyone more at ease.
- Decide who – deciding who to share your plans with may be the most difficult decision. People who play integral roles, such as Executor, Trustee, or Guardian, should also know about your plans; however, only you can decide whether or not to discuss those plans with beneficiaries.
- How much do you want to share – some people share details of their estate plan while others only provide a general overview. There is no “norm” – only you can decide.
- Be prepared for questions – beneficiaries are likely to have questions that range from “why did you give ______ more than me?” to more practical questions such as “how do we know where to find life insurance policy information?” Be prepared to answer – or not. If your estate planning attorney is present he/she may be able to help answer any legal questions.
- Consult with your attorney – talk to your attorney before deciding how to handle the entire affair. Your estate planning attorney has undoubtedly been through this many times and can likely provide you with solid advice about how to handle the discussion.
If you have additional questions or concerns about your Illinois estate plan in general, contact the experienced Illinois estate planning attorneys at Nash, Nash, Bean & Ford, LLP by calling 309-944-2188 to schedule your appointment today.
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