Many Los Angeles residents know how important it is to start planning their estates sooner rather than later. Bad things can always happen, and without the proper steps in place to unwind your estate, legal problems can unfold for years. But many people are simply too scared to begin the estate planning process because they don’t want to decide who gets what.
Several estate planning attorneys have said that speaking openly with relatives who plan and don’t plan on giving anything to is a critical part of the estate planning process. Simple tasks such as how to pay for things to settle the estate can become complicated melodramas.
The president of the National Associated of Estate Planners and Councils said that he’s seen adult children caught off guard far too many times about what to do when a parent dies.
While attorneys say there is no one way to do it, they all stress that communication is key. People don’t have to tell their children how big their estate is, but they may want to soothe fears by saying things have been divided equally.
If things aren’t divided equally, you should do your best to try and explain why, so the living beneficiaries do not resent each other. “If Bill Gates had a sister, he’d probably tell his parents he doesn’t really need the money,” one attorney said.
It’s important for these decisions to be made and communicated in a way that’s thoughtful and honest. It will save numerous headaches down the road for your loved ones, if that’s what you want to happen.
Source: CNBC, “Scared to Discuss Your Will With Your Family? Here Are Some Tips,” Paul O’Donnell, Sept. 28, 2012