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Should I keep my inheritance details a secret?

A recent survey conducted by the Institute for Private Investors and the Wilmington Trust discovered that approximately 67 percent of individuals are afraid to share information about their estate plans with heirs. Many of these individuals say that they don't want to disempower or demotivate their heirs.

On the surface this may be a valid concern. Of equal concern to estate planners, however, should be the question of whether an unaware or unprepared heir stands the chance of putting a family inheritance at more risk of being mismanaged. There is also the fact that family members stand a greater chance of arguing and disagreeing over the dispensation of an estate when the dispensation plan comes to them as a surprise.

Modern estate planners appear more willing to share their estate planning information with their heirs than estate holders did in the past. Approximately 48 percent of estate planners tend to share their information these days, whereas only 33 percent of estate planners received financial information from their own benefactors.

Considering that there are important benefits to sharing wealth and estate planning details -- like reducing the threat of family infighting and helping heirs prepare for what's to come -- Tennessee wealth holders may want to organize a family meeting to disclose their estate information. Meanwhile, those who are worried that this could result in heirs becoming lazy or entitled want to investigate estate planning tools, like trusts, which can dole out inheritances slowly over time.

An estate planning lawyer can help you with strategies for disclosing your estate information to heirs. A lawyer can also help you prepare your estate in a way that is fair, equitable and appropriate for all of your family members.

Source:, "Withholding Inheritance Details — More Harm than Good?," accessed May 12, 2017

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