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Should I discuss my will with my beneficiaries?

It seems that this topic, above others, offers an even split of people both for and against discussing final wishes with family members. Although it may seem that for individuals who are against it, are so because the division of assets is unequal, it sometimes is just because they don't want to spoil the surprise. Yes to some, finding out you are a beneficiary is surprising.

First off, congratulations and good job on having the forethought to create a will before the need arose. Unfortunately, many people consider a will to be a sure sign of impending death when it's actually a sure sign you're living a responsible life. Second, to discuss, or to surprise is completely up to you. There is no right or wrong answer. You know your family, friends and whomever else you have chosen to include in your will. How would they feel about finding out now? How will they feel when they are made aware later? If a huge part of your hesitation comes from your decision to distribute assets unequally, then maybe it's best to keep things to yourself. There is no script for a discussion like this, and wanting to make your wishes clear with loved ones does not mean a family meeting is required.

With whatever you choose to do, you have your reasons. If you think your bequests will create rifts in the family, or are worried someone will contest your will, discussing your concerns with an attorney may help. An experienced estate planning lawyer can go over your will with you to ensure to make sure everything is organized, watertight and right where you want it to be.

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