Estate planning is undertaken for the benefit of the family members that you will be leaving behind, and they are all unique individuals who do not share identical perspectives. This is something to keep in mind when you’re planning your estate because you certainly do not want an acrimonious dynamic to exist among your loved ones after you pass away.
The best way to avoid this is through open and honest communication. If you simply leave behind written instructions you may not cover every detail, and of course different family members can have different opinions about what you really intended. In extreme cases this can lead to estate challenges, and this is something that just about everyone would like to avoid. One way of doing so is to utilize a revocable living trust rather than a living will as a vehicle of asset transfer.
But even though you can go this route and it may indeed be a good idea for a number of different reasons, it is still useful to communicate your wishes with your loved ones so that they at least have an understanding of your thought processes. This will eliminate or reduce any hard feelings that could arise after your passing.
In addition to matters involving distribution of your assets after you pass away, communication is also important with regard to some of the challenges that you may face when you reach an advanced age. For example, family members may disagree regarding the best course of action to take if you were to become incapacitated. They could also have different ideas about long-term care.
Yes, you can state your wishes using appropriate estate planning documents and you certainly should do this. But at the same time, it is a good idea to communicate them to your family members as a group so that they understand where you’re coming from and remain on the same page as the future unfolds.