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Tips for talking to your family about your estate plan

You might have no intention of discussing your estate plan with your family. You might consider that it’s your money and you have the right to do with it as you please.

While true, you may be overlooking some of the advantages of having a discussion. Here are some to consider:

You may need your family to help you

Many people make the mistake of thinking estate plans only deal with what happens when they die. It’s just as crucial that estate planning also makes provisions for what happens if you fall severely ill.

You can create an advanced health care directive to clarify your wishes regarding treatments. You can also give someone power of attorney to speak with medics on your behalf, and to carry out financial or legal transactions such as accessing your account to pay your medical bills, if you are unable to.

Prepping the person you choose so they know what you want and how to access your account will make it much easier for them if they ever need to step up to their role. Informing others can reduce the chance that family members squabble over what treatment you should receive.

Discussing things can make it easier for your family when you do die

Relatives may expect to receive certain things when you die. Perhaps your children assume they will each get an equal split of your estate, for example. Any variance from that could leave them wondering why, leading to friction between them. Explaining your choices now, while you have the chance can help avoid problems.

Giving a few details, such as who you have chosen as executor and where to find essential documents can make things easier for all your family when you die. Learning more about estate planning options can help you form a plan that works for you and your family.