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Give Your Family a Voice Not a Vote Regarding Your Estate Plan

 Posted on April 18, 2017 in Estate Planning

Lombard estate planning attorneysUnless you are one of those rare, fortunate individuals who inherited a great deal of wealth or hit the Powerball jackpot, you have most likely worked very to accumulate the property and assets that comprise your estate. You have put in the hours, made intelligent financial decisions, and were generally careful when making purchases both large and small. When it comes time to decide what will happen to your estate after your death, it is your right to make such decisions as you see fit.

It is important to understand, however, that while you have the right to make estate planning decisions completely on your own, doing so could lead to problems down the road. For this reason, estate planning experts and legal professionals recommend discussing your intentions with family members and loved ones before finalizing your estate plan.

Preventing Misunderstandings

A recent study conducted by Fidelity Investments found that parents and their adult children often feel disconnected regarding the parents’ estates and plans for the future. For example, children underestimate the value of their parent’s property and assets by nearly $280,000 on average. The survey also found that nine out of ten parents assume that one of their children will take on the role of executor of the estate, but more than one in four appointed children were not aware of their parent’s expectations.

If you expect your children to play a role in managing your estate after your death, they need to know it. They also deserve to have an understanding of the choices you are making and the reasons for them. By facilitating a series of focused conversations with your children, other family members, and possible heirs, you can help prevent misunderstandings and possible legal action when your estate plan takes effect.

Ask for Input

You will have the final say on all of the details of your estate plan, but your family members and loved ones may also have helpful ideas. During your discussions, give them the opportunity to express their concerns and needs. For example, you may want your oldest child to serve as the executor of your estate upon your death. He or she, however, may feel unprepared for such responsibility and uncertain of his or her ability to carry out the associated duties. Through open and honest communication, you could reach an understanding or you may decide to select a different executor.

Keep in mind that estate planning is not a democratic process. Your loved ones and heirs should not get to vote on how you divide your property and assets. If you truly love them, however, their opinions should matter to you—at least a little—and it is a good idea to take their concerns into account as you make your decisions.

Let Us Help

If you have questions about estate planning or how to better include your family members in the process, contact an experienced Lombard estate planning lawyer at A. Traub & Associates. Call 630-426-0196 for a confidential consultation with a compassionate professional who understands your concerns. We can assist you in finding the peace of mind that you and your loved ones deserve.


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