At its core, an estate plan is about your family. This collection of documents helps people organize their assets, draft trusts, assign power of attorney and name beneficiaries. Though parents have the best intentions in mind with their planning, some of their heirs may not agree with their decisions and end up contesting the will. This conflict can be particularly damaging to families, injecting bitterness into an already mournful process. More than a few siblings have begun years-long feuds in the wake of a disappointing will reading.
However, parents can help their children through this challenging time. People that employ transparent estate planning can get ahead of contentious concerns before writing them into the will, helping the family work through their grief together.
The 3-step transparent estate planning process
Transparent estate planning seeks to include your heirs in the planning process. Following these steps can help prevent conflict between heirs and keep your legacy intact:
- Hire an experienced lawyer: All good estate plans start with an attorney who knows what they are doing. Your financial manager or accountant should know a local attorney who understands high-level estate and money management.
- Assemble a financial review: The larger the estate, the more complex the paperwork. A financial review is a summary of the estate’s assets, insurance policies, beneficiaries, etc. This financial review enables your heirs to visualize the estate and their place within it.
- Hold a family meeting: The final step in your transparent estate plan is informing your heirs. A family meeting gets everyone together and allows you to host a frank and open discussion about your estate. Beneficiaries can ask questions, voice concerns, and hold frank discussions about their desires before they turn into grief-laden feuds.
It’s never too late or early to start planning
Estate plans don’t just help after you are gone but serve to give families peace of mind now. Knowing that you have a plan for your legacy can allow your family to focus on what really matters: each other. A local attorney can help you get started on drafting your transparent estate plan today.