Parents have a lot to worry about when it comes to their family. Though their children may grow up and have families of their own, parents may still see them as the kids they once were. Many parents take any opportunity they can to show their children they care.
A large part of that care comes through in estate planning. A comprehensive estate plan can help parents continue to care for their families after they are gone. However, some siblings may disagree with their parents’ plan or will. These disagreements can cause conflict among heirs that may lead to rifts in the family that last decades. What can a caring parent do to prevent this?
Keep the family together with transparent estate planning
Parents can help the family understand estate plan items like the will, insurance beneficiaries and inheritances through transparent estate planning. This three-step process allows parents to explain their decisions, answer questions and even make changes to the estate plan. Follow these steps to involve the family in planning:
- Choose the right lawyer: Sometimes, an attorney can make all the difference to a family’s understanding. Accountants and financial advisors may have recommendations for lawyers familiar with New England estate laws.
- Draw up an estate summary: Parents summarize their estate plans to help their heirs understand their decision-making and provide specific directions. This document should list all property and assets, insurance policies and their beneficiaries, contact information for all professionals involved in the estate, login information for estate-relevant websites, and instructions for distributing nonfinancial assets like family heirlooms.
- Call a meeting among heirs: Parents can then hold a meeting to outline their basic intentions. A meeting allows heirs to voice their concerns, ask questions and state preferences. This meeting also offers parents the chance to introduce the estate executor.
Start working on the estate plan today
Parents without estate plans can contact a local attorney familiar with Maryland estate laws to begin the process. An attorney can help locate assets, draft documents and even serve as the estate executor.