Using images commonly presented in films and other artistic works, picture in your mind a reading of a person’s last will and testament. In many fictional scenarios—which often tend to ignore the rest of the probate process completely—the will reading is shown a dramatic plot device through the which the decent is able to extract a measure of revenge or to surprise an unsuspecting heir with a vast fortune. Of course, in the world of movies and books, these scenes are often used as a way to advance a particular story, but the purpose of real life, they can help to highlight an important idea about your will and about estate planning in general: communication.
Communication Builds Trust
For many people, discussing an estate plan is uncomfortable, especially when conversation includes close loved ones and family members. These, however, are the people who most deserve to fully understand your decisions. Regardless of the choices you have made regarding your property or finances, express them to your beneficiaries. It is up to you the amount of detail you wish to provide, but you can offer your heirs—especially your children and grandchildren—a level of security when they know that have been considered. With your direction, they may also gain a better understanding of how to handle whatever assets they are to receive.
Communication Prevents Contests
A large number of will contests are based on the allegation that the testator—you, in this example—was unduly influenced or not of sound mind when making estate planning decisions. A series of conversations with your beneficiaries can serve several purposes in this regard. First, you will have the opportunity to explain the reasons behind your decisions, if you wish to do so. Your beneficiaries will be able to ask questions and to clarify any misconceptions they have. In addition, through thorough discussion, it will be clear that you are of sound mind and able to make reasonable decision on your own behalf. If you still fear that the conversation will be misconstrued, ask a trusted person, such as your chosen executor, to take notes or to make a recording.
Communication Mitigates Shock
Upon your death, your family members and loved ones will be dealing with enough stress and emotion without adding financial uncertainty. Of course, you may not wish to give away all of your secrets; a pleasant surprise during a difficult time would certainly not be unwelcome. However, a son or daughter discovering they have been left out, intentionally or not, only after your death may be too much to handle in addition to their loss.
If you are looking toward the future and would like assistance on how to discuss your will and estate plans with your loved ones, contact an experienced Orland Park probate attorney. With our understanding of the applicable laws, we can help you not only communicate with your family, but also to develop a will and testament that will stand up to virtually any challenge. Call 708-518-8200 today to schedule your free initial consultation.