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Benefits of communicating with heirs during estate planning

Someone in New York who is preparing a will or other estate planning documents does not necessarily have to discuss the provisions with the chosen heirs, but including heirs in some or all of the process might be beneficial. For example, asking children which specific items, especially sentimental ones, they would like to have could prevent disputes and disappointments when the time comes.

Informing children or other heirs how large assets, like property, will be included could spare one or more parties surprises about an outcome. Someone who did not expect to inherit a property might wish to know that it will happen in order to plan for that future event. These discussions could also include explanations to the children about why certain choices were made. For example, a child who stayed close to parents to attend them during old age might be given preference over those who moved across the country.

For families with multiple children, each child could be given a role to play within the execution of an estate plan. One child could be given a power of attorney for medical decisions, and a sibling could have a different one allowing financial decisions to be made in the event of the principal's incapacity. Another could be designated as the executor of the will.

By involving all heirs in the process in some way, the siblings might avoid feeling like one was favored over the others and given too much influence. Decisions about how to communicate intentions to heirs, and if it should be done at all, can be an important part of the estate planning process. An attorney who has experience with these matters can often be of assistance to a client in this regard.

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