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Important estate plan topics to discuss with family

Many people in Colorado shy away from talking to their family members about estate planning issues like inheritance or powers of attorney. Although all parties might find the subject uncomfortable, clear communication could lead to decisions that prevent hard feelings and reduce burdensome legal paperwork when someone dies.

People approaching their children or grandchildren might begin by bringing up some questions about everyone's financial life and attitude toward end-of-life decisions. Families might find out if they are living within their means or if someone is struggling financially. A family might determine who should make health care decisions for an elderly relative if that person becomes incapacitated. Furthermore, individuals could share their wishes about whether they should receive life-prolonging care. Desires about burial could also be communicated.

Parents with an estate to pass on to their children might conduct a family meeting about how to divide the assets. Some people might wish to give each child an equal share or give a child with low income a greater share. An estate holder could explain the reasoning behind either approach and potentially prevent bitterness among siblings.

A person who wants a greater understanding of the elements that an estate plan should address could consult an attorney. Legal information about taxes, gifting and setting up trusts could aid someone with the estate planning process. An attorney's review of the client's assets and goals could lead to effective estate planning strategies. Documentation like wills, trusts or powers of attorney could be written by the lawyer. Insights from an attorney might help someone make decisions about choosing an executor of a will or a trustee.

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