At some point during the planning or implementation of your estate plan, you may start to wonder with whom you should discuss the details of your plan. There is no standard answer to that question. Some people choose to share all the details with everyone involved while others share nothing with anyone. Only you can make the final decision; however, there are some things worth considering before you make the decision.
Executor/Guardian/Trustee: If you plan to name someone as the executor of a Will, the trustee of a Trust, the guardian of your minor children or any other significant position within your estate plan, it is generally a good idea to discuss your intentions with them first. While they may be competent to serve in the position, they may not be willing or able for a variety of reasons. If you do ultimately appoint the person to the position, they should also be given a copy of the final document reflecting the appointment.
Spouse or Partner: You are certainly not required to discuss your estate plan with your spouse or partner. Separate plans can be made; however, if you own significant jointly held assets and/or have children in common, creating separate estate plans could create confusion or even lead to litigation in the event of the death of one spouse or partner.
Beneficiaries: This is a highly personal decision. In most cases, beneficiaries have no real legal need to know ahead of time what is contained in your estate plan. Some people choose to divulge the details so that there are no surprises, yet others intentionally withhold the details to avoid any family conflict that could arise as a result of divulging the details.
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