Estate planning attorneys always tell their clients that the most important thing to do to ensure a smooth estate administration is to talk to family members about what they need to do. However, there is an alternative if you are uncomfortable with that advice.
Estate administration can go awry for a plethora of reasons. One key culprit is a failure to communicate.
Family members do not know what to do or what to expect. This is new territory for them.
When they do not know what to do, they make mistakes in administering the estate. When they do not know what inheritance to expect they sometimes get upset with what they get (or do not get!).
This problem is the reason many estate planning attorneys advise their clients to talk about their issues with family beforehand. Telling your family what to do and what to expect goes a long way to stopping any problems before they start.
However, many people are uncomfortable talking about their own death and many family members are uncomfortable with it as well.
Recently, an article in Forbes entitled "The Single Most Important -- And Unconventional -- Estate Planning Tip You Will Ever Get" suggested an alternative.
Instead of talking to your family, talk to a trusted professional who must maintain your confidences and secrets. Tell that professional everything that needs to be done.
Then give your family that professional's contact information, and the professional will be able to guide your family through the process when the time comes.
If you have a proper estate plan, then you already know a professional who can provide this service - your estate planning attorney.
Reference: Forbes (March 19, 2015) "The Single Most Important -- And Unconventional -- Estate Planning Tip You Will Ever Get"