Becky Cholewka: Sometimes you want to make sure that you have discussions with your family regarding your estate plan so that there are no surprises. However, that’s a really particular individualized call.
For example, there are some families that are just really fractured, or maybe we are disinheriting some children. We know that if we have these discussions with them right now that it would actually cause more problems for the family, especially because your plans can change.
If you tell your family that you want to leave everything equally between the children now, and you live another twenty years, and in that twenty years, maybe you have had a falling out with one of your kids and now you’ve changed your plan and nobody knows about that and there’s a surprise, it still can be a really difficult decision for each family as to what is best for them.
If you have a family that typically gets along and everyone wants to respect your wishes, I do encourage you to have some discussions with your family about what your wishes are. Even talk to them about, for example, what your burial or cremation wishes are.
That’s a really big conversation to have. Sometimes it’s scary, sometimes kids don’t even want to hear about it ‑‑ they don’t want to talk about Mom or Dad dying ‑‑ but it’s much easier to deal with those situations if you know, actually, what Mom or Dad wanted.
When my own Dad died ‑‑ when I was nineteen ‑‑ we had to go through this whole process ourselves. I can tell you, surprises aren’t easy for people to deal with. My Dad actually wanted to be cremated. My grandparents did not know that. They actually had a very big vocal voice in how his remains were taken care of, and they wanted to have him buried.
It was a bit of a touch and go within our family, as far as knowing what Dad wanted and having some people who were surprised by that, not being able to follow through because they hadn’t processed it yet. It’s always a great idea to think about whether or not conversations with your family will work and what type of information you should be talking to them about now.
If you need any advice or counseling on how to do this with your own particular family, please feel free to call us and ask for a consultation. We love helping families through this process. Our phone number here at Gilbert Law is, 480‑497‑3770. Again, gilbertlawoffice.com.