Once you make an estate plan, you might think that you are done. This is the case for some people. However, it is a good idea to discuss the contents of the plan with the beneficiaries so that they are aware of what’s in it.
Some people don’t think that they should have to explain the plan to anyone, but taking the time to do this can make it easier for your loved ones when you pass away. It is especially important to alert them if there is anything that might be surprising.
Start with the basic information
Most people want to know about the terms of the will and the stipulations of the trusts. Some individuals can be shocked as they thought they had an idea of what they would receive. It might behoove you to have a copy of the documents with you so that you can tell everyone exactly what it says.
Discuss end-of-life plans
Your end-of-life plans, including those for medical care, are important to your family members. By letting them know what’s in your advance directives, they can work to ensure your wishes are followed. You can also inform them of your health care proxy and your financial proxy so that they know who will make decisions on your behalf if you aren’t able to make them on your own. Also, alert them to the fact that you have a Do Not Resuscitate order if you have one in place.
Be prepared for questions
Be prepared to answer questions if there is anything in your estate plan that your loved ones don’t understand or don’t agree with. Try to remain calm and answer factually and with compassion, especially if you are discussing something that is difficult for them to hear. If things start to get heated, it might be best to revisit the matter later once everyone has a chance to settle down.
If you think that there might be problems that come up because of the terms of the will, discuss the contents individually with the people who need to know. By doing this, you have the opportunity to tailor the conversation to that person. Remember, you might need to have this conversation more than once if you have to change any terms of the estate plan.