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Should inheritances be a surprise?

On Behalf of | Aug 30, 2021 | Estate Planning

Talking to your loved ones about what they will inherit when you pass away can be an awkward conversation. Your friends and family may not want to think about your eventual death, and you may not know how to explain to your loved ones how you decided to allocate your assets.

It may seem fitting to treat a future inheritance more like a traditional gift where the recipient does not know what they are getting ahead of time. While this may eliminate the need for a conversation during your lifetime, it can also create other problems when it is time for your loved ones to receive their inheritance.

Here’s why you should talk to your loved ones about the contents of your estate plan.

Limit disputes

One of the potential issues with being secretive about your estate plan is that it could create disputes over what others feel you would have wanted. This happens especially when there are last-minute changes to an estate plan or when the person who died allocated assets to an unexpected individual.

When loved ones have at least a rough understanding of what assets they will receive, there is no expectation that they would expect to inherit something different.

Disputes over a will are stressful at a time when loved ones are also trying to cope with your absence. It can create a strain on otherwise positive relationships. If your loved ones know what to expect, it reduces the possibility that they will contest the plans you have in place.

Connecting conversations

When you talk to your friends and family about how your assets will be distributed, you can speak to them about the final gift you are giving to them. Although there is no guarantee they will do what you hope with their inheritance, you can certainly communicate your desires to them.


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