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Wiley & Mathews

What talks do you need to have with the family about your estate?

A well-developed estate plan is the best way to preserve your assets, protect your future and shield your heirs from unnecessary taxes. Yet, it can be difficult for people to address some of the key conversations they need to have with their families as they go about their plans. Quite often, they aren't even sure where to start.

Here are the big things you need to discuss:

Medical concerns

What are your feelings about life support, resuscitation, feeding tubes and other possible end-of-life issues? Do you want your life to be prolonged as possible, or would you rather eschew anything but comfort care? Do you want something in-between? You need to have a clear conversation with your closest relatives so that there are no questions about your will on the matter. You also need to decide who will be responsible for any end-of-life decisions regarding your care so that you can give that person your Medical Power of Attorney.

Financial concerns

What will be included in your estate? Are there any pieces of property or other assets that you plan to put in a trust? For whose benefit? What will the terms of that trust be? Discussing those things now can eliminate questions -- and fights -- after you are gone. You will also need to decide who will be your Financial Power of Attorney and see to your bills and assets if you're unable during your lifetime.

Post-death concerns

You will need to choose someone to act as the executor of your estate and manage the final disposition of your will. That's not something that should ever take a person by surprise, so talk to that person early about the task -- and make sure they are willing to serve. You should also discuss the disposition of your remains and what type of services you want (if any).

Estate planning and related tasks can feel overwhelming, so don't be afraid to reach out for experienced assistance when you're ready.

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