Creating an estate plan is a big decision, but deciding on who you want to share it with is equally important.
Once you’ve created a plan, you should ideally share it with family members so that they know what to expect. A trust for example requires a trustee to oversee after you’re gone so at the very least, you’ll want your successor trustee to be aware of the responsibilities that lie ahead.
Additionally, you may want to explain to your heirs why you’ve divided up your estate the way you have to help prevent any family disputes after you’re gone.
Of course, sometimes you may not want to share the details of your estate with your entire family. Maybe one heir is receiving less than another and you don’t want to strain the relationship anymore than it is now while you’re alive. Just remember that “surprises” can often result in a contest of your Will so the more up front you are now, the less shock your family will receive later.
Other people feel the need to keep their estate plan a secret because they don’t want their family members knowing their true net worth. This is a decision that only you can make but again, the more honest you are about your estate now, the less chance there is for a contest later.
Ultimately, it all depends on your individual family and personal situation. You alone can decide whether you should or should not share your estate plan but discussing it with your estate planning attorney is a good way to choose who else should be brought into the loop.