Are parents communicating their estate plans with their children?

Is poor communication still an issue in estate planning? According to a recent article, the answer may, unfortunately, be yes.

Specifically, a recent article claims that far too many Americans don’t have a will or other estate-planning document, around 27 percent. To add to the confusion, about 16 percent of adult children are unsure if their parents have estate documents in place.

Yet even among those with an estate plan, less than half have kept it current by updating it within the last five years. Nearly 25 percent of adult children are also unsure whether their parents have kept estate documents current. Furthermore, more than half of adult children don’t know where their parents keep their estate documents, let alone the specific provisions in those documents regarding inheritances and other matters.

Although an outdated plan may be better than none at all, it can still create hassles. For example, assets without a designated beneficiary or joint owner may have to go through probate to determine how they should be transferred. If significant life events or circumstances altered or made obsolete certain provisions in a will, surviving beneficiaries may find themselves embroiled in a will contest.

Our law firm focuses on wills, trusts, living wills, and other aspects of estate planning. We have seen the consequences of failing to plan one’s estate and periodically update those plans. For individuals who want to preserve their legacy and provide for beneficiaries, it is worth the time and effort to properly maintain one’s estate plan. Our law firm reviews our clients’ estate plans at no additional charge at least every three years. We also offer an annual review maintenance program to clients who prefer a more active approach. 

Source: The Street, “5 Biggest Estate Planning Mistakes You Can Make,” Jason Notte, July 13, 2015

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