How to keep loved ones involved in the estate planning process

On Behalf of | Jun 30, 2023 | Estate Planning |

It can be embarrassing or emotional to discuss financial matters with loved ones. Some people simply don’t like the idea of talking in depth about their personal wealth or their legacy wishes. Others have complicated family circumstances and are concerned that their choices will lead to conflict. As a result, all too often, those who take the time to put together a thorough and comprehensive estate plan in New York nonetheless neglect one of the simplest steps for better ensuring that others follow through with their last wishes. Specifically, they fail to explain their intentions to their family members.

Those who don’t know what someone’s true estate planning wishes are might have unrealistic expectations and could potentially take legal action after someone’s death that might undermine those last wishes. How can someone keep their loved ones actively involved in the estate planning process to prevent confusion and frustration later?

They have one-on-one discussions

Whenever someone makes an adjustment to their estate planning paperwork, they can talk about that choice with family members. One-on-one discussions with individual children and other family members can help people understand the inheritance that they will receive and the role that they may need to play in the estate administration process.

Such discussions are particularly important to have with those who will serve roles such as the agent named and power of attorney documents or the trustee chosen to administer someone’s trust. In fact, testators sometimes choose to bring these individuals along when meeting with their estate planning attorney. Everyone who might assume they are beneficiaries with likely benefit from talking with the testator about their wishes.

They can discuss the issue as a family

Particularly in scenarios where an estate plan has complicated inclusions, such as plans to transfer the ownership of a family-run business, it may be important to not only discuss one’s estate plan with individual family members but also with as much of the family as possible at once. This group discussion will give people an opportunity to discuss their concerns or objections and to clarify any confusion about the testator’s wishes. In the future, after the testator dies, no one would then be able to claim that they were unaware of that testator’s wishes or that their instructions seem to deviate from their prior statements.

Being proactive about keeping family members involved in the estate planning process can help reduce the likelihood of someone’s loved ones challenging their wishes after they die.