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Talk to your loved ones today about your estate plans

You may think that by creating a will, you are covering all your bases and protecting your assets. But if you do not take the time to consider your loved ones' reactions to it after your death, your final instructions may not carry much weight with them. It is common for the family members of a testator in New York to fail to agree with the final will and last wishes. Once they voice their concerns and file disputes, their disagreement often turns into family conflict and a costly legal battle that eats away at the estate’s value. 

To avoid surprises that could interfere with your last will and testament being followed and leave your family unprepared, you might want to speak to your loved ones about them. Here are some things you should consider when planning to speak to your family about your estate plans to prevent disputes and conflict. 

Evaluate your family dynamic 

Depending on the number of children and loved ones you include in your final documents, you might want to think about whether to talk to each one individually or as a group. If you have arrangements that may cause siblings to argue and hold grudges, it is best to discuss things one-on-one with them. Be sure to include your reasons in a personalized letter with your estate planning documents just in case they forget. If you want to talk to everyone at the same time, but there are distance issues, consider using an app or online meeting site for your talk. 

Do not disclose all details 

It is not necessary for you to inform your relatives in advance about any financial assets you may be leaving them. That information is best kept confidential. However, if you plan to gift assets that have sentimental value to everyone, those are the items you should provide explanations for. 

Inform your relatives about roles 

If you want certain family members to take on certain roles as you near the end of your life, such as executor, power of attorney or guardian/conservator, you should let them know now. This gives them the opportunity to decide if they are capable of assuming those positions when necessary. If they cannot, they can inform you, so you have time to choose other individuals who may be more suited for those designations. 

Do not put off talking to your loved ones about your end-of-life documents and estate plans. Tomorrow is not promised. The sooner you talk, the easier it will be for everyone to trust and honor your final wishes.

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Connors and Sullivan, Attorneys at Law, PLLC
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