Colorado Estate Planning – Worthy of a Family Discussion?

In a recent New York Times article titled “Estate Planning as a Family Conversation,” Deborah L. Jacobs discusses the different nuances that arise when involving family members in the conversation about one’s estate plan.  Admittedly, such discussions can create both positives and negatives. 

When all parties are on the same page, parents discussing their estate plan with their children can have some very positive results.  However, it can easily go the other way when one heir receives more than his or her siblings as discussed in the article.  Siblings can also get upset over who is designated as their parents’ Personal Representative, Trustee or as an Agent under their Financial and Medical Power of Attorney.  All in all, it is this author’s belief that while opening up a discussion over an estate plan during one’s lifetime can create some frustration and even hostility, it can be better for parents to explain their decisions while they are alive in contrast to having heirs learn about it after their parents’ passing. 

One topic the author did not mention is the importance of speaking with the individual or company who one designates in a fiduciary capacity like a Trustee, Guardian, Financial Power of Attorney agent and Medical Power of Attorney agent.  When preparing one’s Colorado estate plan, I have always suggested people discuss with their designated agents or trustees of their potential role if they are needed.  More importantly, one should confirm with their designated Guardian who will be taking care of their minor children whether they are up for the task.

To summarize, communication is important in estate planning.  Each family’s circumstances are different, and thus, creates the possibility that everything may not need to be discussed.  However, making designated fiduciaries aware of their potential role should be discussed.


Comments are closed.