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The dangers of keeping your estate plan secret

Historically, parents have kept their estate plans secret from their adult children. The reasons for this are many- fear of upsetting their children, wanting to avoid pressure from their kids to get an “advance inheritance,” fear that one of the children will abuse power or hurt their siblings and often, having difficult, end-of-life conversations.

Of course, there may be many other reasons, and every family is different. Circumstances are different. Family dynamics are different. Then there’s your elder law attorney, who will be helping put together your estate plan. That is where solutions come in.

A good elder law attorney can make it happen so that you benefit from communicating with your children about your end-of-life plans, ensure that your wishes are respected and followed and protect your assets.

Why is it beneficial to tell your adult children about your estate plan?

  • It will avoid confusion and allow your children to ask questions while you are still around and able to answer them.
  • It will allow you to tell your children how you would like to be cared for if you are alive but incapacitated. Though you can do this in writing, having your children’s consent can lead to better outcomes if your care involves their participation.
  • It can open the lines of communication between you and your children, which is beneficial in and of itself.

Why is it dangerous to keep your plans from your adult children?

  • If you keep your plans to yourself and only on paper, your children may have different interpretations of what that means. Your executor could even have one understanding and your children another.
  • Sharing information with these parties ensures everyone is on the same page about your preferences and choices. After all, it is your life.

Having estate planning conversations with your adult children may be a challenging topic to discuss. Still, it certainly has its benefits and can reassure you that everyone involved will respect and follow your wishes.





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