VanNess & VanNess, P.A.

Communication with family and estate planning

Florida residents who are creating an estate plan might want to consider discussing it with family members. In fact, talking about finances can be an ongoing conversation. However, discussing money can be difficult for some people. One way to better frame the conversation might be to think about it as a conversation about values.

For example, people may want think about what they consider most important. This could include deciding whether a person is more interested in a long life or a more comfortable life or whether it is harder to talk about a funeral to loved ones or know those loved ones will have to make decisions among themselves about the funeral after a person's death. Values about spending and saving can also be discussed.

Another consideration is how to divide up an estate between beneficiaries. A person may decide to split up assets equally or to distribute assets differently based on certain considerations.

Parents and children should have this conversation as well as grandparents and grandchildren. What is critical is that a person creates an estate plan. For example, in one case, grandchildren found notes for a will and an attorney's business card, but the lack of a formal will meant an expensive delay in settling the estate.

Estate planning is generally best done with the assistance of an attorney. Without an attorney, it could be more likely that a person will make errors that could delay the administration of the estate or make the estate plan vulnerable to legal challenges. People should also update an estate plan regularly including beneficiary designations. These documents, which name a beneficiary for assets such as retirement accounts, override a will but may be overlooked during estate planning.

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