Start early. Patrick Severo is the senior vice president and financial advisor at RBC Wealth Management. He also has three kids and knew he needed a plan to take care of them after he is gone. Severo recently told Forbes in the article titled, “Don't Let Emotion Sabotage Your Estate Plan,”that, although the discussion about what happens after you pass away feels uncomfortable, the earlier you can begin, the better off you’ll be because these things take time – maybe even years!
To help the people you care about handle the financial, administrative and familial consequences of your eventual passing, be as transparent as possible about what they can expect from your estate. Mismatched expectations can often cause trouble that could’ve easily been avoided if the news wasn’t coming as such a surprise.
An inheritance can be life-changing, so it’s important to discuss it with your loved ones upfront so they can be mentally, emotionally, and financially prepared.
Discussing your estate plans with your loved ones can also help eliminate some potentially difficult situations, like when one sibling is inheriting more than another. Hopefully the family members receiving less will be okay as long as they are forewarned.
A good estate plan can become outdated or irrelevant easily, “if it sits on a shelf.” A three-year time line for estate planning is a good rule. This means a regular review of your trust to make sure it accurately reflects your current situation and your wishes.
Being very transparent about what your beneficiaries may receive from your estate can help ensure that the dispersal of your estate goes smoothly, and your wishes are successfully fulfilled.
Working with an experienced estate planning attorney can help guide you through this process.
Reference: Forbes (May 15, 2015) “Don't Let Emotion Sabotage Your Estate Plan”