Estate planning is a very personal process but because of that, many people choose to put it off until it is too late. Thereby, leaving their family members to try to pick up the pieces after a financial disaster caused by someone’s mental or physical incapacitation or sudden death. For these reasons, it’s important to at least have a conversation about the benefits of estate planning and how you’ll break the news about what you decided to your kids.
Many people are confused about just how much information they should give to their children about estate planning and whether or not these documents should have copies made and given to the kids. There is no one-size-fits-all answer about how much information should be shared with children since every person’s circumstances are different. Many people share a lot of information with their clients.
Most people who meet with a probate lawyer after a person has passed away within their family already know what’s in the estate plan but might not have copies of the critical documents. Usual recommendations from estate planning attorneys are to keep the estate planning documents in a secure, accessible and safe place.
These documents are extremely important and they may be needed someday and in the heat of the moment, you want to ensure that everyone has access to them.
Giving copies of these estate planning documents to an experienced estate planning attorney and advising key family members who may be stepping in in the event of an incapacitation or sudden death, about how to find this information, can be instrumental in minimizing the challenges typically associated with estate planning.
If you have a plan developed well in advance and things are organized in a clear and easy to locate manner, you are that much more likely to be effective with communicating these goals to family members and enabling them to find this critical information when the time comes about. Bear in mind that your decision about how much to share with your family members regarding your estate plan is ultimately up to you and that many people choose customized decisions based on how comfortable they feel with the relevant family members.
You can ask questions of your estate planning attorney to help figure out what may be in your best interests.