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Elder Planning Isn't Just For The Elderly

Why you should talk openly about your estate plans

There's an old Robert Burns poem, "To a Mouse," and you've surely heard a line or two from it. Most importantly, this one: "The best laid schemes of mice and men go often askew." Perhaps it's not the most cheerful line to keep in mind when drafting your last will and testament, but it's definitely a perspective to remember.

White Plains retirees with large families take great pains to devise wills that offer legacies to their loved ones. They do their best to distribute their assets fairly and justly considering their personal wishes, and the circumstances of their families and beneficiaries. However, this does not mean that they will succeed in making everyone happy.

When your large and diverse family isn't happy with your will, some members might decide to challenge the will in court. If the challenge is successful, all of your plans could fall completely apart. This is why will planners in White Plains are encouraged to talk openly about estate planning with relatives and potential heirs.

Minimize any potential for surprises

In a lot of cases, wills are challenged simply because they have come as a surprise to your heirs and potential heirs. If you're planning to cut someone out of your will, it may be very important to tell him or her now. Similarly, if you're going to distribute your assets to family members unequally, you may want to explain that to them. Telling family members your estate plans, and explaining yourself to them, will prevent any surprises from cropping up.

Hold a family meeting and tell everyone at the same time

It is especially helpful to hold a family meeting and tell every member of your big family about your plans at the same time. Although the conversation could get awkward, when everyone is there at the same time, it helps to keep everyone on the same page.

Even if your heirs and potential heirs don't agree with you, or even if they're hurt by your choices, at least they will know it's what you wanted. That knowledge is often enough to prevent a will contestation when you're no longer around to speak for yourself. Also, with everyone present, heirs are less likely to claim that you said something different.

Get help from a lawyer when writing your will

So many White Plains residents try to draft their wills without any kind of estate planning legal assistance. Yes, you certainly can draft your will without help, and you can even find inexpensive will preparation software for your computer. However, nothing will ever replace the skill of an experienced estate planning lawyer.

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Enea, Scanlan & Sirignano, LLP

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White Plains, NY 10601

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