A will is chock-full of intensely private information. You’ll discuss all of your wishes in it, including who should oversee your finances, which assets you will pass on to whom and what to do if you should need life support at some point.
But the reason for writing these preferences is so that others will know them when the time comes. So, doesn’t it make sense to share the details of your will before you’re gone?
Wills are a matter of public record
One important thing to remember is that wills are a matter of public record. Upon your passing, anyone from the general public will be allowed access to the details of your will.
While you may not be around to witness this, it’s good to keep in mind that the decisions you make in your will are going to be shared at some point in time.
Making controversial decisions
It can be difficult to get a group of four or five people to agree on a place to eat or a movie to watch. While writing your will, you’re going to have to face the facts that not everyone in your family is going to agree with the decisions you make.
However, if you are planning to exclude a close family member from your inheritance, gift a large sum to charity, or designate a family member to care for your pet, you should make these important issues well-known before they’re discovered in probate court. This may help prevent family squabbles in court.
In some cases, you may want to clarify your intentions in your will to keep a decision from looking controversial. For example, actor, Burt Reynolds, excluded his adopted son from his inheritance in his will. However, he clarified in the will that his son was already provided for with a trust fund.
Being clear about your intentions
When sharing the details of your will with your family, you should be very clear. Many adult children set their expectations too high when they receive their inheritance because their parents never disclosed the amount the would receive.
Try to be very specific about the details of your estate plan by discussing who should inherit which items, who should be the guardian of your minor children, the exact amounts beneficiaries should expect and more. Being honest with your family will make this process easier on them in the future.