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Communication is key to estate planning

When it's time to plan your estate, you need to communicate. One of the biggest mistakes is failing to talk to those who are going to have executive powers over the estate ahead of time. Imagine being the child of someone who passes away and being left to take care of the estate; if you had no idea you were going to be left with the responsibility, then you might be in for a shock and hustling to find an attorney to help you.

It's vital to talk to the person who will take over the estate, because that person needs to know where to find important documents and information in your home. You could provide those documents early on, too. A will can help make your wishes clearer after your death, and it can also benefit your executor, who needs to try to make your estate disbursal go as smoothly as possible.

If you don't have a will, that's when things get tricky. You might have an executor assigned, but without a will, state laws have to take over. Even if you don't want to leave a will that breaks down all your assets and finances specifically, you can leave a will called a legacy will. This kind of will isn't legally binding in any way, but it does discuss the values you want to pass on after your passing.

If you have a large estate, working through a will with an attorney is not a bad idea. You can avoid common pitfalls, like tax penalties and other fees your beneficiaries could be left with, by discussing all of what you want to leave behind.

Source: Star Tribune, "Communication is big missing element in estate planning," Chris Farrell, Aug. 13, 2016

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Law Office of Jeffrey B. Pape, P.C.
642 Pollasky Avenue
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