Once you have taken the time to create a comprehensive estate plan you may wish to share all, or part, of that plan with the people who play a role in the plan. Granted, discussing death over dinner is not what most people envision when they think of a dinner party; however, it is really not such a bad idea to get everyone together at one time and discuss the highlights (or details) of your estate plan. Why not do so over dinner? Whether you plan to have your discussion in a causal atmosphere over dinner at your home, or in a more formal venue such as your attorney’s office, there are some things you should consider when preparing for the meeting, such as:
- Who to invite – only you can decide whether it is better to gather everyone together and have on big discussion or whether talking to people one on one is a better choice. Clearly, a group meeting saves time; however, if you anticipate negative reactions from beneficiaries it might be better not to have them all in the same room together. Do, however, make sure you include key people such as your Executor, trustee, and your estate planning attorney if possible. Including your attorney serves several purposes. It provides a legal perspective if people have legal questions about your plan. It also helps establish that you were of sound mind and not under undue influence when you created your plan.
- How much, or how little, to share – in most cases, it helps for family members to have some idea what will happen to your estate when you die, or if you become incapacitated; however, it is up to you to decide if sharing details of the plan is a good idea. Leaving everyone in the dark, however, increases the odds of a lengthy, and costly, estate battle after your death which is in no one’s best interest.
- Answering questions – be prepared for questions ranging from practical concerns to emotional challenges centering on “why” you did this or that in your plan. Only you can address the emotional questions, but having your estate planning attorney handy helps to answer any purely legal questions family members or loved ones may have.
- Copies of documents – decide ahead of time which documents you plan to provide to which individuals. At a bare minimum you will want to provide your Executor with an original copy of your Last Will and Testament. You may also want to give a copy of any trust agreements to the corresponding Trustees. Beyond that, it is up to you whether you feel copies of any estate planning document should be given to beneficiaries.
If you have additional questions or concerns about discussing your estate plan with loved ones, contact the experienced New York estate planning attorneys at The Law Offices of Kobrick & Moccia by calling 800-295-1917 to schedule your appointment.