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Should you discuss your estate plan with loved ones?

Creating your estate plan lets you lay out the legal plan for what you wish to take place when you pass away. This is only part of what you may need to do to take care of your loved ones when you're gone. It might be beneficial for you to speak to your loved ones about the contents of the estate plan.

The manner in which you discuss things with them depends on several factors. Some individuals might decide to gather everyone together to have this discussion. Others opt to talk to each person involved alone. This sometimes comes down to a personal preference, but it might also be a decision of necessity if you think that some people might not be able to get along while you're letting them know the contents of the plan.

Why should you talk to your family members?

Talking to your family members lets them know ahead of time what plans you have for your estate. This is a chance for them to ask questions and get clarifications about what's going to happen. Try to go over anything that you think they might be confused about.

While many people might focus on the will and trusts, be sure that you talk to them about your end-of-life plans. This includes what type of medical care you don't want to have and what you'll agree to. You can also let them know who will make medical and financial decisions for you if you become incapacitated. This lets them know whom to turn to and prepares them for what's going to happen if you need specific types of medical care.

How should you handle these discussions?

Try to remain calm as you let them know the contents of the plan. The goal is to make sure they know what to expect. There is a chance that they'll get upset about some aspects of things. You can try to address these but there are instances in which you'll never be able to say what they want to hear.

It might help you to have a copy of the estate plan handy so you can be sure you go over everything. Let the appropriate individuals know where things like your letter of instruction are located so they can find it when they need it. You can also let them know where other important documents like your estate plan, life insurance policy and other similar ones are kept so they can get these after you pass away.

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