Aside from forgetting to make an estate plan in the first place, one thing many people forget is to tell anyone they have made an estate plan.
You might not realize how many problems it can cause. Let’s look at a few situations to see why.
You have a horrific car crash
A vehicle hits you out of nowhere. The ambulance rushes you to the emergency ward, and it is touch and go whether the doctors can save your life. Your girlfriend arrives, and so does your mother. The doctor needs to make crucial decisions regarding treatment, yet your mom and your partner say different things. Whom does the doctor listen to? Who represents your wishes? If you have given your girlfriend a health care power of attorney, she gets to choose. Yet, if you never told her you had done that, by the time she finds out, it may already be too late.
You die unexpectedly
If you know you have a certain amount of time to live, you can use that time to tidy your paperwork up and issue instructions. Yet, if you die without warning, your family will be left wondering what’s next.
Even if they know you made an estate plan, they need to know where it is. Do they have to turn the house upside down searching for it, or do they need to contact a specific attorney who has all the details?
While a delay may not seem that important, your family will already be upset, so why make their life harder. Aside from the uncertainty, they may have immediate financial needs, such as accessing a bank account to pay the mortgage. If you tell them in advance that a particular person will have a financial power of attorney to do that, it helps them in a difficult time.
Your make some unexpected choices
If your estate planning choices come as a shock, your family may launch a legal challenge. If you explain your reasoning now, it allows them the time to accept your decision.
Explaining your estate plan to your family may seem challenging, yet, failing to do so will create far more of a challenge for them.