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Communication Is Key in Estate Planning

 Posted on September 21, 2017 in Estate Planning

Lombard estate planning attorneysDo you have a signed and executed will or any other elements of an estate plan in place? If so, you are already ahead of more than half of American adults.

Next question: Have you had in-depth discussions about estate planning with your children and other important family members? If so, you and your family are well prepared for unexpected surprises—assuming your estate plan addresses all or most of the details that are significant to you and your loved ones.

Final question: Would your children agree that you have had the necessary conversations and do they know where to find important documents, passwords, and account information? Unfortunately, serious disconnects in communication are all too common when it comes to estate planning.

A Relevant Study

Earlier this year, Fidelity Investments released a study showing that aging parents and their adult children are often on different pages in regard to important estate planning conversations. The survey indicated that nearly 70 percent of parents believed that they had talked at length with their children about wills, estate plans, and finances. More than half of their children, however, said that the conversations had not happened—at least not in sufficient detail.  

Additionally, 80 percent of parents reported that their children know where to look for important paperwork. However, only about 67 percent of the children surveyed said that they know where to find their parents’ estate planning documents and relevant account information.

Why Communication Matters

The period after a person’s death can be confusing and stressful for surviving family members under the best of circumstances. When ambiguity or doubt regarding the deceased person’s estate is added to the mix, the situation becomes infinitely more difficult.

By sitting down and opening the lines of communication between yourself and your children, you can begin to resolve some of that to remove some of that uncertainty. You can also give your loved one a voice in the process. You have every right to make estate planning decisions as you see fit, but the conversation with your children may reveal important things that you did not know.

For example, you may have assumed your oldest son would be the one to step up and manage your estate following your death. But what if he was hesitant to tell you that he did not feel comfortable with taking on those responsibilities? What if your younger daughter was more inclined to step into the role of executor but never said anything because you had not asked? Being open and forthcoming about your estate planning choices can prevent a variety of problems and unnecessary stress.

Call Us for Guidance

If you would like to begin the estate planning conversation with your family but are unsure of where to start, contact an experienced DuPage County estate planning attorney for help. Call 630-426-0196 for a confidential consultation at A. Traub & Associates today.



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