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Why you should talk with heirs about your estate plan

It's not easy to talk to your family about your death. As a result, you might never get around to explaining your estate planning goals to your heirs. This can lead to a lot of confusion and problems after you're gone.

If your survivors don't know what you want to happen to your estate, they'll have to rely on your will and other estate planning documentation. But this can lead to misinterpretations, and your family members might administer your estate in a different way than you'd hoped.

Here are some of the most important benefits of talking to your family about your estate plan before you die:

  • Empower your family to carry out the details of your wishes after you're gone. The more you family knows what you want, the more capable they'll be of accepting your plans without argument or family infighting.
  • A detailed conversation about your wishes is a good way to impart your family values, and let your family know what kind of a relationship you want them to have with one another after you're gone.
  • Assist your family in adopting a common understanding of how you want your family legacy to continue for future generations.
  • Prepare your heirs and family for the day when you may become incapacitated.
  • Educate your family on how they can avoid tax consequences associated with receiving their inheritances.

If you're not sure what you should talk about or how to approach your family when discussing your estate plan, you may wish to discuss the topic with your estate planning lawyer. Your lawyer will be able to help you create a strategy for bridging this topic with your loved ones.

Source: Fidelity, "Tips for Estate Planning Conversations," accessed Oct. 05, 2017

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