Some families make surprising discoveries after a loved one dies. As one blogger recalls, “My mom’s step- grandpa told everyone he was an electrician that was often called to do repair jobs out of town. After he died, the family received a letter from the president of the United States, revealing he was actually a demolitions expert and worked in some sort of special ops bomb squad for the military. Even his wife had no idea.”
But not every revelation is such an admirable one. Some families discover their loved one was hiding an addiction or debt. Many children are stunned to discover they were omitted from their parents’ will – with no chance for an explanation. Not only is this bewildering and hurtful, it’s ultimately the last message a parent sends to their child. These heartaches can be avoided. Here’s where to start:
- Construct a plan. Did you know 60 percent of Americans do not have an estate plan? Creating a will is actually a simple process but the impact is monumental. An up-to-date will can ensure your loved ones are provided for without additional expense and frustration.
- Communicate your heart. Once you’ve created an estate plan, it’s important to explain the decisions you’ve made. Some families experience complicated relationships or situations where receiving an inheritance could actually be detrimental. It’s better to be honest than to leave a lifetime of questions. It can also be a wonderful time to speak from your heart. Share about your personal values, causes or organizations you’ve cared about or chosen to include in your will.
- Collect information. Many people create a “love drawer” or “love file” to gather important information their loved ones will need in the future. This could include legal documents, financial account information, insurance policies, passwords, medical wishes, or personal letters sharing how much they’ve meant to you.