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Include Your Family in Your Estate Planning Discussions

 Posted on August 18, 2018 in Estate Planning

Lombard estate planning attorneySome people are just born rich. They are fortunate to be part of a family with wealth going back several generations. Others manage the impossible and win the Powerball jackpot, becoming enormously wealthy virtually overnight. Most people, however, work very hard throughout their lives to accumulate the assets and property that make up their estate. You have probably made sound financial decisions and put in the hours to earn what you have, so when it comes time to decide what will happen to your assets upon your death, you have the right to do so.

Keep in mind, however, that while the right to make decisions about your estate is yours and yours alone, such decisions are not made in a vacuum. The choices you make are likely to have an effect on your family members and loved ones. Whether that effect is positive, negative, or neutral depends on your circumstances and how you handle them.

Eliminating Assumptions

A study by Fidelity Investments in 2016 found that aging individuals and their adult children are often not on the same page when it comes to their estate and future plans. For example, the study determined that adult children undervalue their parents’ estates by an average of almost $280,000. The study also reported that 90 percent of parents presume or plan to appoint one of their children to serve as executor of their estate. More than a quarter of adult children, however, did not know that their parents expected them to step into such a role.

There is nothing wrong with wanting your children to have responsibilities for your estate after your death, but you cannot expect them to know that unless you tell them. Your children also deserve an understanding of what choices you are making and why. You have the power to eliminate incorrect assumptions and potentially expensive misunderstandings by communicating with your family about your plans.

Asking for Feedback

The final decisions on all of your estate planning details are up to you, but your loved ones may have constructive ideas as well. By giving them the chance to express their needs or concerns, you may gain a better understanding of bigger picture. For example, you might expect your oldest child to manage your estate as executor when you die. Your child may not feel that he or she can handle the duties properly, but your next-oldest may feel completely comfortable doing so. Through open communication, you could be encouraged to rethink your original plan.

Estate planning is not—and probably should not be—a democratic undertaking. Your family members should not get vote on your estate plan that is equal to yours. If you love them and want what is best for them, however, their opinions and ideas should have some value to you.

We Can Help

If you have concerns about how to include your loved ones in the process of planning your estate, contact an experienced Lombard estate planning attorney. Call 630-426-0196 for a confidential consultation at A. Traub & Associates today.



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