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Do not leave heirs out of the estate planning process

When drafting an estate plan, individuals work closely with lawyers and financial managers. These professionals help people sort through investments, real estate, and insurance policies to build a plan that accounts for long-term health care, funeral arrangements, inheritances, beneficiaries, estate taxes, and more.

With all the details people must consider with a comprehensive estate plan, it is not surprising when parents overlook their children’s wishes. If an heir feels disrespected or overlooked with their inheritance, they may file a claim against the will. Parents can curb this divisive behavior with transparent estate planning.

Designing an estate plan with the family in mind

Parents with large families can use the following techniques to help their children understand the will and other choices made during planning. This process allows heirs to ask questions, voice their opinions and feel integral to the planning:

  • Work with the right attorney: A competent lawyer will exhaust all options when building an estate plan. People can confer with accountants and financial advisors for recommendations on attorneys able to handle high-value estates with many heirs.
  • Create a financial review: A financial review is a long list of assets, their location and other relevant information. Parents can take this opportunity to show heirs everything in the estate, from property to insurance policies. Parents can include titles, liabilities, identify beneficiaries, list contact information for financial advisors and accounts, and include login information for relevant online accounts. The review should include information on nonfinancial assets and their intended distribution.
  • Host a meeting of heirs: Parents can then hold a family meeting to inform their heirs of their decisions. Many people invite the executor to these meetings so the family can meet them, ask them questions and hopefully reduce their skepticism. Siblings have an opportunity to discuss things between themselves and make specific requests.

Start drafting an estate plan now

Estate plans are essential to the easy transition of property and inheritance. Without a comprehensive plan, people risk their estates in probate court, where any number of creditors or disgruntled heirs may file claims. Those interested in drafting their plan can reach out to a local lawyer familiar with Kentucky estate planning.