Holding a Family Meeting to Review Your Estate Plan
Sitting around a table discussing estate planning with your family is no one’s idea of a good time. Parents are hesitant to raise the topic, and even if the discussion is begun, don’t know what level of detail to go into. Children feel awkward discussing their parents personal affairs, and often dismiss out of hand the idea that their parents will become elderly, need assistance, and eventually pass on. So, if you have summarily dismissed the idea of a family meeting, your reaction is understandable.
There are, however, good reasons to reconsider. First, by reviewing the outlines of your plan with your children, you reduce surprises later. When people are surprised, they often jump to conclusions that are misplaced, which can make administration of your estate more complex, time consuming and costly. Often a parent has heartfelt reasons for estate planning decisions that a child might never accept unless they hear it directly from the parent. If you do not personally explain the reasons behind a decision, chances are no explanation will be accepted.
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