Your will and end-of-life care decisions are undoubtedly private. What you do in terms of your estate plan is up to you, and you should design a plan that reflects your wishes.
That said, estate planning and probate do not happen in a vacuum. Other people can and will be affected by your decisions, and most people require some legal or financial guidance to ensure their plan is valid. Thus, it can be wise to discuss your estate plan with the following parties.
Legal and financial professionals
Before you get too far in your estate plans, talking to a lawyer, financial planner and others in these fields can ensure you are on the right track. They can help you identify your assets and make it easier to utilize tools to accomplish your goals.
If you already have a plan or know exactly what you want, these parties can still provide support to ensure your wishes are adequately documented so that courts and loved ones can carry them out.
You do not need to tell your family every detail and decision you make regarding your estate plan, but giving them an idea of what you want can go a long way in preventing conflict and legal disputes.
And it is not just the details of your will that you can discuss. You can talk to beneficiaries about your beliefs and financial values, as well as your reasoning and motivation behind decisions. Focus on helping them understand your wishes, and be prepared to explain any unexpected or unusual terms.
Parties you appoint to specific roles
In your estate plan, you can name individuals to serve as guardians and personal representatives; you assign powers of attorney; you might even name someone to take care of your pets for you.
Appointing parties to make decisions for you to act on your behalf, or take care of the people and animals you love most is a big decision. Talking to these parties to let them know what your desire can give you both the chance to discuss what you want and to answer questions. If any concerns arise or if the party does not wish to serve in this capacity, you can rethink your plans.
When you talk to people about your plans, you can make it easier to fulfill your wishes and leave the legacy you want to leave.