You are not required to discuss your estate planning with anyone else. You don’t have to talk to your heirs, even if they’re going to inherit assets from you. Many people will do this entirely on their own, thinking of it as a rather private process.
That’s fine if you want to do it, but the reality is that having conversations with your heirs can be quite beneficial. It may be worth considering. Below are a few of the potential benefits to keep in mind.
First of all, talking with your heirs can help you decide if they actually want to take on specific roles that you desire for them. For instance, you may think that someone is perfect to be the estate administrator, but they may tell you that they actually think it would be overwhelming and they would rather have you pick someone else.
Having these conversations in advance can also help to avoid disputes. Heirs will know for certain what you wanted, and they also will have time to talk to you about anything that they disagree with in the estate plan. This lowers the odds they’ll dispute the terms with other heirs.
Finally, an estate dispute sometimes occurs when heirs have expectations that do not match up with what they actually get in the plan. If this reality is sprung on them surprisingly, it can lead to conflict. If you talk about it with them in advance, you can smooth this over by setting proper expectations.
As you begin talking with your family and setting up your estate plan, take the time to look into all of your legal options carefully.