We have previously written about the benefits of sharing one’s thoughts about estate planning with one’s family and close friends. Especially if there is a risk that one’s estate plan will be fought over by frustrated relatives, talking about one’s estate plan in the open can help to ensure that such fighting is preempted.
However, talking about the estate planning process and wishes concerning one’s personal estate plan is not for everybody. For any number of reasons, you may wish to go through the estate planning process quietly and relatively alone. Although you will benefit from seeking the assistance of an experienced estate planning attorney, you may justifiably decide that it is better to keep your loved ones out of this process.
Just yesterday, the world responded with emotional surprise at the seemingly sudden death of beloved actor Alan Rickman. Although author J.K. Rowling famously trusted Rickman to keep the arc of Harry Potter character Severus Snape’s storyline secret from his fellow actors, his directors and the world, Rickman chose to keep his terminal cancer a secret from almost everyone. In fact, Rowling herself expressed “shock” at the death of the talented actor.
Just as it is every person’s right to keep any number of secrets in life, it is your right to pursue the construction of your estate plan in secret as well. However, please remember that due to attorney-client confidentiality laws, you need not go through this process completely alone. An attorney can help to guide you through the process quietly, should you wish for any number of reasons to keep your estate plan to yourself for now.
Source: NPR, “Actor Alan Rickman Has Died; Portrayed Snape In ‘Harry Potter’ Films,” Laura Wagner and Bill Chappell, Jan. 14, 2016