Secrets may be necessary when it comes to our country's interests, but failing to reveal estate planning details to your relatives could be extremely harmful, Hogue warned. —
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Hogue, gave compelling reasons why keeping your will's contents from family members could be counterproductive in the long-term.
He said many might understand why parents hesitate in telling family what plans they have for their assets when they pass on.
"Reasons range from potentially upsetting your children over your estate planning decisions to the fear your children will abuse their power," said Hogue
"Equally, children may ask to be provided with an 'advanced inheritance', or they are concerned about having the difficult conversation about end of life decisions.”
Hogue explained that the goals of estate planning are three-fold: to act as a guarantee that your wishes are carried out, both during life if you become incapacitated, as well as after death, and to put in place someone you trust to make financial and medical decisions on your behalf when you aren't able to do so. It also helps mitigate the process of going through the courts.
These can only be achieved by having the proper legal documents in place, such as wills, trusts, advanced directives, and financial and healthcare powers of attorney.
He added: "Not informing your adult children beforehand of the responsibility they have to make either financial or medical decisions can create confusion and unnecessary stress in an already stressful situation. A lack of knowledge will ultimately slow down the process."
As much as the conversation surrounding end-of-life arrangements can be awkward, it is better to grasp the issue now than store up problems later down the line.
Hogue concluded: “I advise my clients to discuss their estate plans openly with their families. They should explain their decisions and their decision-making process. Family members should also be informed of the ins and outs of the plan and understand that the plan can change depending on prevailing circumstances."
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