Estate planning has soared in recent months. As people navigate the implications of the current coronavirus pandemic, many are using the moment to put together their estate plans. Although it is a great idea to get everything in order to increase your peace of mind, many are making a very common and relatively easily avoidable mistake: they are forgetting to tell people about their plan.
A failure to communicate information about the plan with loved ones can have two negative consequences.
- Lost documents. If loved ones are not aware of the plan, they likely do not know where to find the documents. Without these documents, it is unlikely the plan will move forward as intended. This is especially important when it comes to time sensitive matters, like a medical power of attorney or living will. It is important to have quick access to these documents to better ensure your wishes regarding medical care are honored.
- Litigation. Even if loved ones know where to find the documents, those who do not know at least the basics of your wishes, may believe the documents are wrong. Loved ones could have the best of intentions and choose to move forward with time consuming and expensive litigation in an effort to fight for what they believe you wanted for your estate. You can mitigate this risk by sharing your wishes and discussing the implications of the plan.
It can also be helpful to put the documents, or at least copies of the paperwork with instructions on where to find originals, in an easily accessible location.