How Do I Talk About My Estate Plan With My Loved Ones?

December 21, 2022
West Chester Estate Lawyer at Eckell Sparks Provides Premium Estate Planning Services.

If you have taken the necessary steps to create a solid estate plan, it is important to communicate that plan with your loved ones and fiduciaries. This discussion can spare family members the stress and frustration of trying to locate your financial and medical documents in the future.

When you discuss your wishes with family, you help ensure your estate plan is executed just as you intended. Here are some tips to start this conversation.

Choose Who You Want to Entrust With the Details

Determine which family members or confidantes you want to entrust with the details of your estate plan. It is beneficial to discuss these matters in the presence of your lawyer who can explain various documents and directives in detail.

Discuss Responsibilities With Fiduciaries

Fiduciaries are individuals who are responsible for managing money or property for another person. In this context, it is the person you designate as the executor of your will and/or the trustees tasked with managing assets within a trust.

Your fiduciary should be fully aware of their rights and responsibilities in these roles and consent to take them on. Your attorney will be helpful in explaining this process to all involved.

Do Not Overlook Medical Directives

Should you become unable to communicate or advocate for your own medical needs, it is vital for loved ones and health care providers to be aware of your wishes. Living wills and other advanced directives are legally-binding instructions of your medical preferences if you are unable to make decisions due to injury, illness, or incapacitation.

While it is not always easy to have this conversation, your family may find comfort in knowing you will receive the level and type of care you desire. These documents spare families the uncertainty of having to make these decisions for someone they love at what can already be a difficult time.

Provide Copies of Essential Documents

Consider providing loved ones with copies of your most recent will, power of attorney, and medical directives, along with the name and contact information of your attorney. You can also store the original last will and testament with your attorney to ensure it is secure and readily available at all times.

Update Family Members as Your Estate Plan Changes

You may need to revise your estate plan at some point. In fact, most lawyers advise clients to review and update these documents at least once a year, or after a major life event like the birth of a child, a marriage, divorce, or the sale or purchase of a major asset. As you amend your estate plan, share these changes with your loved ones, and provide copies of updated documents as well.

Open communication about these important matters will help ensure your legacy is preserved and passed on according to your wishes. Communication helps your beneficiaries receive their benefits as quickly and smoothly as possible.

West Chester Estate Lawyer at Eckell Sparks Provides Premium Estate Planning Services

A solid estate plan provides peace of mind for you and the important people in your life. If you need help with an estate plan, speak with a West Chester estate lawyer at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C. Call us at 610-565-3701 or contact us online to make an appointment. Located in Media and West Chester, Pennsylvania, we proudly assist clients in Delaware County, Chester County, and Montgomery County.