How and when should you tell your family members about your estate plan? The answers to these questions depend on many factors such as your family dynamics, how you plan to leave your money, and more.
Family Dynamics and Estate Planning
There are so many different kinds of families with different relationships among their members. If your family gets along well and shares intimate details about your lives with each other, you may feel very comfortable talking to everyone about your estate plan. In another family, you may want to keep your plan a complete secret.
How Do You Plan to Leave Your Money?
One concern for people sharing information about their estates is greed and pushback. If you plan to disinherit everyone in your family except your second cousin, you would be right to fear some negative consequences from telling people. Your estate could face problems later too, such as challenges to the will or accusations of fraud. It could be safer to keep quiet if you worry about this happening.
So How Should You Tell Your Family?
Even if you do not tell your family who will receive what in your estate plan, you should share a few important pieces of information with at least one person. The person you tell does not have to be a family member – you could tell your lawyer or a close friend. Someone, though, will need know:
- Where you keep the will
- Where you keep other documents such as the trust
- Your passwords for key accounts (especially online)
- Which accounts you have opened
- Location of the key to the safe deposit box
Without this information, your family may have trouble paying for funeral arrangements and distributing your estate. While you might not want to tell your family everything about your estate planning, save everyone time and trouble by sharing the locations of documents and assets.
Planning your estate? Look to Janet Brewer, Esq. for thorough and thoughtful estate planning advice. Janet’s more than 20 years of legal experience will give you confidence and peace of mind. To schedule a “Get Acquainted” meeting, visit Janet's website or call her office at (650) 469-8206.