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Communicating with Your Family about End-of-Life Issues

Posted on by Brock Benson

If you have already contacted Benson Law, PLLC to begin creating your estate plan, then you have crossed perhaps the most important bridge in the estate planning process: you are able to face the thought of your own mortality and are comfortable discussing end-of-life issues and the distribution of your estate with an estate planning attorney.

If you have reached this point, then you should take the next step and communicate with your family members and loved ones, particularly those who will play a role in assisting you with the care of yourself and your estate, both before and after death, to ensure that your affairs can be handled in the most efficient manner possible.

While some families do face planning issues that require certain estate planning matters to be kept private, the traditional family unit estate plan (in which property passes to a spouse, followed by children and living descendants) is supported and in fact strengthened by open and honest communication with the spouse, and the children, about the Will and other estate planning documents. Likewise, children should communicate with their parents to ensure that they are familiar with their parents’ plans and goals for dealing with end-of-life medical and financial issues.

Spouses, children, trusted loved ones or designated agents should be familiar with:

1. Contact information for attorneys, CPAs, and financial advisors

2. The location of Wills, powers of attorney, and healthcare planning documents

3. The location and nature of life insurance policies, and contact information
for life insurance companies

4. Banking information

5. Information about 401Ks, IRAs, and retirement accounts

6. Information relating to safe deposit boxes, or safes

7. Information relating to titled assets (such as the location of titles, or
lienholder information)

Benson Law, PLLC routinely counsels clients whose loved ones have passed away while leaving important questions unanswered. Unfortunately, this creates heartache and unnecessary difficulty for family members who are already grieving the loss of a loved one, while at the same time creating additional and often unnecessary expense for the loved one’s estate.

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