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Important estate planning conversations to have with family

Many people work hard to put an estate plan and financial structure in place. After doing all that thinking and work, it is important to communicate plans to loved ones so they can properly implement plans and follow through on intentions. For this reason, it’s a good idea for planners in California to consider a family meeting during and after the estate planning process.

Here are a few things that should be discussed in this meeting. It can help to make a list of these topics and bring it to the meeting, so nothing is forgotten:

  • When will inheritance/gifts be given? While inheritance after death is the traditional plan, some people might be partial to lifetime gifting. This gives those with extra means the chance to see their loved ones benefit from gifts during their lifetime, and might provide extra money to children and grandchildren at an age where they have more of a need for it. Have a conversation with beneficiaries about wishes in this regard, and what the expectations might be for any gift provided before death.
  • Does anyone have a vested interest in any particular asset or item? Discuss with each beneficiary whether there is a particular asset that means a lot to them. These could be major considerations like a cottage or business, or smaller sentimental items. Either way, knowing these “wish lists” on the front end can help guide planning and direct communication in the areas of most interest to loved ones.
  • Who will care for dependents? Many people think to discuss their own care with loved ones before they pass away. But, what about the chain reaction of care? Consider minor children, aging parents, a diminished spouse or a beloved pet. Whether they are a formal dependent or simply someone who relies on occasional support, the family should consider a plan for care should something happen to their caregiver.

These are only three of the many topics that should be broached with family during and after the estate planning process. A California estate planning lawyer can help individuals to create a complete list of items to raise with family members. In addition to voicing plans and preferences, it is important to put wishes in a legally binding will.

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