I will often get the question, “Should I share my estate planning documents with my family?” The answer usually varies depending on the family dynamics and personal circumstances of each client.
One of the reasons many people plan their estate is to make things easier for their family when they pass away. Many clients figure that their family members will have an easier time using the documents if they have a copy. However, there can be some concerns in giving family members access to your legal documents. What if you change your mind as to the structure of the document? You may want to change beneficiaries or even remove that person. You may find yourself in the position of asking for the documents back or telling the person that they have been removed.
On the other hand, you may be completely comfortable with your family seeing the documents ahead of time. With family members knowing what the documents say, you might be able to ward off some conflict later.
As you can see, this question can be very client specific. At a minimum, I recommend letting your family know that you have an estate plan and where you store your documents. Let them know where to find your personal bank account information, computer passwords, deeds to property, marriage certificates, military discharge paperwork, etc. as well as your team of advisors to call, such as your Estate Planning Attorney, CPA, or Financial Advisor. If these documents are organized and easily accessible then your family will have a leg up in setting out to follow the wishes outlined in your estate plan.
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If you have additional questions or concerns about estate planning, or if you are ready to get started on your plan, contact an experienced Annapolis estate planning attorney at Sinclair Prosser Gasior by calling (410) 573-4818 to schedule an appointment.