Once you have finally taken the time to create a comprehensive estate plan, you should also consider taking the time to plan a family meeting to discuss your planning. Although not everyone will decide to share their plans, there are some compelling reasons to do so, including:
- Ensuring that everyone involved knows who will be in charge of what in the event you become incapacitated
- Notifying the people who you have appointed to important positions such as executor, guardian, or trustee.
- Letting everyone know if you have created a living will or other similar document that will provide guidance in the event important medical decisions need to be made at some time.
- Informing your loved ones where your estate planning documents will be kept.
- Filling them in on your funeral and burial wishes.
- Explaining any potentially controversial decisions you made in your plan.
While it is not always necessary to explain your plan in detail, even a basic explanation can provide loved ones with crucial guidance in the event you become incapacitated or die. No matter how good your estate plan is, it will not function properly if no one knows it exists. We discussed additional reasons to discuss your estate planning in a January blog post on Avoiding Fights. Even a small delay in locating your estate planning documents could result in costly problems both in terms of family relationships and estate assets.
If you do decide to call a family meeting, you may wish to hold it at your estate planning attorney’s office so that any questions that arise can be answered.
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