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Why Your Family Should Be Involved in Your Estate Planning Decisions

 Posted on September 20, 2019 in Estate Planning

DuPage County estate planning attorneyWhile some people have the good fortune of being born into a family with significant wealth that was amassed several generations ago, most others work extremely hard to accumulate the assets and holdings that comprise their estate. As far as your estate is concerned, you have likely put in many hours and made responsible decisions to earn what you currently own. With this in mind, you have every right to decide what will be done with your property after your death.

It is important to remember that while you do have the right to make estate planning choices for yourself, decisions such as these will affect others. The choices you make in your estate plan will almost certainly impact your loved ones and close family members. That impact could be negative, positive, or neutral, depending on your unique circumstances and how you manage them.

Avoiding Unfounded Assumptions

A recent study conducted by Fidelity Investments found that an alarming number of aging individuals are not on the same page with their adult children when it comes to the topic of estate management. For example, Fidelity discovered that adult children tend to believe that their parents’ estates are worth far less than they actually—about $280,000 less on average. Additionally, the study found that nine out of ten parents plant to presume that one of their children will serve as executor of their estate. More than 25 percent of adult children, however, had no idea about their parents’ expectations.

Now, there is nothing inherently wrong with presuming that your children will take on estate-related responsibilities upon your death, but it is not fair for you to expect them to know this if you never tell them. Your children also deserve at least a cursory explanation of the decisions you are making in your estate plan and why. By communicating with your children, you can eliminate incorrect and possibly expensive assumptions and misunderstandings.

Ask for Their Feedback

You have the final say on all of your estate planning decisions, but your family members might have some valuable ideas to offer during the planning process. When they have the opportunity to talk about their concerns and needs, you could develop a clearer understanding of the overall situation. You might, for example, expect your oldest son to assume the role of executor upon your death, but he might not feel that he can properly handle the responsibilities. On the other hand, your daughter might feel completely capable and willing of taking on the role—something that you might never have known without an open discussion.

Your estate plan is not an election, and your loved ones do not get a vote, per se. But, if you love them and want the best of them after your death, you should value their input and ideas.

Call a DuPage County Estate Planning Lawyer

If you would like to learn more about how to include your family in the estate planning process while protecting your own decision-making rights, contact an experienced Lombard estate planning attorney. Our team will help you take the necessary steps toward securing your future and that of your family. Call 630-426-0196 for a confidential consultation today.



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