I love this article by Deborah Jacobs because it brings to the forefront some important reasons to talk about estate planning. Plus, with all of the family gatherings this holiday season, the article is timely written.
Everyone (well, almost everyone) has heard a horror story about an estate administration gone wrong. The once cohesive and happy family can no longer get along because dad favored one child over the other. Or because the administration of mom’s estate wasn’t handled perfectly. Or because nobody can find grandma’s yellow pie plate and everyone suspects cousin Betty. When someone dies, there are just too many opportunities for hard feelings to intensify and ruin family relationships.
To avoid this potential problem, take your head out of the sand and talk about your estate plan with your family. The intent of the discussion is to explain your reasons for your plan and to appropriately set expectations. Take away that element of surprise and inform family members so that they know who will be in charge and what that person will do with all of your worldly possessions. This will allow them to plan accordingly, and more importantly, act appropriately.
Oh, and Happy Holidays!