Estate Planning and Your Heirs – How Much Should You Disclose?

Inheriting money would seem like one of life’s unabashed blessings: someone gives you a lump sum just for being you.

Surprisingly, what might seem such a blessing to some can, in reality, be just the beginning of a long list of emotional problems for heir that is ill equipped to handle the responsibilities associated with a large financial windfall.  Then there is the possible adverse impact this new found wealth could have on relationships with family and friends.

The decision to leave wealth to your loved ones is easy; the real work is found in the ability to create the best plan for how to leave money for your loved ones so that your legacy is the blessing it should be.   Can the loved on manage money; are they in a stable relationship; are their any special needs that must be addressed?  Should you talk to your loved ones now about your plans and their future inheritance? If yes, then how and when should you talk about the matters?

Fortunately, The New York Times has addressed these circumstances with an article titled “What to Tell the Children About Their Inheritance and When.” However, it would be impossible for this article to answer these questions for you; the questions of if, how, and when to inform your heirs are solely yours to resolve. They are entirely dependent upon your and your loved ones’ unique circumstances.

Nonetheless, the article does provide firsthand accounts of others’ similar situations. It seems as if more and more heirs actually want to know what is going on, and some even need to know for various reasons. Either way, there are risks involved.

A sensible approach would be to seek the counsel of your estate-planning attorney who undoubtedly can provide experience-based insights. It is prudent to learn from the successes and mistakes of others.

Reference: The New York Times (July 20, 2012) “What to Tell the Children About Their Inheritance and When

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We've been putting together as many resources as possible so that we can continue to help:

  • If you’re a current client with a signing appointment or a prospective client with a consultation and would prefer that meeting take place in your own home, we can accomplish that with a little bit of pre-planning on our part and with the addition of a laptop, smartphone, tablet or other computer in your home to facilitate this virtual meeting. For those of you that need to sign legal documents, that too can be accomplished with the use of a webcam (FaceTime etc.), so that we can witness and electronically notarize all of your important legal documents.
  • We launched the rollout of our on-demand webinar early so that new clients and our allied professionals can view the important component parts of ‘an estate plan that works’ at their convenience.  That is available on our website.
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  • The best way to communicate with us is still by phone during regular office hours of 8:30 to 5:00, Monday through Friday, or, you can email any of our team members (that is, their first name followed by @zarembalaw.com).  We will respond to these emails as quickly as possible.
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Thank you, Walt and the Zaremba Team

Update to our Process

The unprecedented coronavirus pandemic has taken our entire country by surprise. We understand how difficult this time is for America’s businesses and families.  However, we believe it is vitally important that we make every effort possible to continue to offer solutions that avoid disrupting our important partnership with you, your family and friends.  As you know, estate planning is not something that should wait for a more convenient time, therefore the opportunity to address your important goals both during and after this crisis should not wait.  To that end, we have added the option of a ‘virtual consultation’ to our office process.  You will now have a choice of either meeting with us in our office or in the comfort of your own home.