William J. Benz, Attorney at Law
Probate, Estates, Business and Real Estate
Of Counsel to Howland, Hess, Guinan, Torpey, Cassidy and O’Connell, LLP
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Timely family involvement in estate planning

| Jun 11, 2020 | Wills |

If you’re a would-be Pennsylvania estate planner who has thus far procrastinated on crafting a tailored and well-executed strategy, the reason for your successive starts and stalls might well reside with your family.

It’s a complex unit, right? Most families are.

In fact, family dynamics are differentiated and flatly unique in every case. That elemental fact routinely influences estate planning. Candidly, it can sometimes make getting started a most challenging task.

Legions of American families are entirely comfortable in collectively addressing all manner of topics when they get together. Politics, for example. Religious views. Sports. Current events.

But not money. For some reason, that subject matter is often a virtual taboo when, say, elder parents get together with the kids. A recent article from a prominent financial website stresses that, “Family money conversations can be difficult for parents and their adult children.”

Notably, though, many families who take a plunge into candor and transparency after making the decision to engage in a family financial meeting are happy that they did.

Especially when the reason to do so centers on parental desires and hopes for the future. The details of some estate plans are ultimately realized with unwanted surprise and even disappointment from some heirs who did not anticipate them. Conversely, other plans emerge with a clarity that is appreciated and well understood by relatives and loved ones because they were preceded by one or more frank family exchanges.

Such exchanges might start off a bit stilted and uncomfortably, but the benefits they yield can be multiple and diverse. Parents’ wishes toward wealth distribution and inheritances can be made clear. Viewpoints regarding a family legacy and charitable giving can be expressed. Split opinions or disagreements among children can get an open airing. Special needs, elder care, gifting, asset inventory – all these things and more can be broached in a timely and purposeful way.

Doing so can be broadly beneficial for all involved parties and promote peace of mind concerning planning and its eventual outcome.