By Ana Ballesteros, W M Law Paralegal
Estate Planning can be a difficult conversation to have with your love ones. People generally do not like to think about what would happen if a loved one were to pass away either suddenly or expectedly. What would happen to the house? The cars? How would the sentimental things get distributed? The purpose of an Estate Plan is not only to ensure that the transition moves as peaceful as possible without having any fights between siblings or step-family members but also to give you peace of mind that your wishes are being respected. Here the 5 things to talk about with your family when preparing for your Estate Plan.
How to plan your Estate Plan: The reason for an estate plan, is to ensure that your belongings do not go through probate. A death is already difficult, not to mention having to go through a legal process for your family to keep what already belongs to them, your legacy. Talk to them about what will need to be included and what you think is best to pass on right away. If you do not feel comfortable letting them know what each will get, you do not have to disclose it until it is time.
Health-Care decisions: This is an extremely important thing to discuss and have ready in a Health-Care Directive. It might be easy to assume your family knows that you do not want the plug to be pulled but perhaps they think they should let you go so you do not have to suffer any more. Your family does not know what you really want until you discuss it with them. Let them know about the difficult decisions they will need to take. Do you want to be an organ donor? Do you want one or two doctors to declare you brain dead? Do you want extreme measures to be taken on your health?
Pre-arrange funeral details: Would you like to be cremated or buried? Would you like to be buried in a family plot or would you like your ashes to be spread along your favorite lakeside view? Perhaps you know which funeral home you would like to use because it is cheap and accommodates your wishes. Let your family know that you have started this process and have started making the necessary payments so that that burden is not on them suddenly. Unexpected expenses always rise with a death of a loved one.
Assigning an Executive: Assigning an executive in your will and trust is important because you want to make sure that there is someone that will properly handle your estate the way you have intended it to be. You want to make sure that you assign this important task to some one who you trust and will be responsible. Someone that you know will be responsible and deserves the position.
Where to keep important documents? Important documents should be kept in a place that is easily accessible. It could be a home safe or a bank safety deposit box. You should always keep a copy nearby and you should make sure that your executor also has a copy. Original documents matter to the Court. Let your family where they are kept, what the safe combination is and where the keys to every lock will be kept and the passwords to all the important sites they would need to access.
Of course, there are many more things to keep in mind while preparing your estate plan. But at least this information will give you a head start with the discussion you’ll have with your family.