Your Family Needs to Know About your Estate
Cindy Diccianni, Financial Advisor
secrets about your estate plan from heirs and
family is probably the easiest way to ruin all
of your careful planning. Our culture teaches
us not to tell our heirs - typically our children
- about our estate plans: how much it is worth;
who will receive what and how much; and where
our financial documents are located.
animosity between family members spills over
into court following the death of the estate
owner, and this can destroy your original intent.
Such secrecy is often the reason why estate
plans are not created in the first place, causing
the estate to pay out more in estate and inheritance
taxes than should have been necessary, or resulting
in distribution of assets to people or in amounts
not desired by the deceased.
it is a deeply personal choice as to whom you
wish to discuss your estate plan, and how much
you wish to reveal. But the larger and more
complicated your estate, typically the more
critical it becomes that the major heirs be
informed before death. Financial Advisors and
Estate Attorneys offer several suggestions when
thinking about when and with whom to discuss
your estate plans.
to help your heirs do their own planning
You can help your heirs make better financial
planning decisions if they know your intentions.
For example, if you plan to give most of your
estate to a charity, they may avoid committing
themselves to buying an expensive home on the
assumption that their inheritance would pay
off the mortgage. A charity also can plan better,
or suggest changes to you, if you plan to give
it a large bequest. A charitable remainder trust
can be very beneficial in this scenario.
you want to make unequal bequests
Some family members may be better off financially
than others because of their professions and
incomes, or you may have an heir who has a disability
from an accident or may need extra financial
help. It can reduce potential friction among
heirs and court challenges by explaining ahead
of time why you are bequeathing more to one
heir than to another.
In today's world more and more people are getting
married for the second and even a third time.
Often, there are children from previous marriages
who are heirs to the assets of the deceased.
Second marriages are a major source of conflict
in estate planning. Advance discussion can help
smooth out potential problems.
help the inheritance process go smoothly, consider
holding a meeting with all of your major heirs.
Here are some guidelines for making the meeting
You may want to use this meeting as an opportunity
to inform your heirs where to find important
documents and records. This helps to avoid
frustrating searches for wills, safe deposit
box keys and financial documents. Inform whomever
you named as executor of your estate, give
them details about your estate plan, and most
importantly, explain the intent of your decisions.
Don't "surprise" them at your death.
never easy to discuss what comes after your
death. But with careful planning, you can ensure
that what happens to your estate is what you
Diccianni is a Registered Nurse,
a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA), a Registered
Investment Advisor and a Registered Representative
with Leigh Baldwin & Company member NASD
and SIPC. She is affiliated with Ortner, O'Brien
& Ortner Advisory Group, Inc. and co-founder
of Nurturing Your Success, Inc. Her passion
is assisting clients in creating financial freedom.
You may visit Cindy at www.nurturingyoursuccess.com,
write to her at Cindy@nurturingyoursuccess.com
or call her directly at (610) 251-9393.