Individuals build estate plans from a collection of complex legal documents concerning a person’s financial affairs, insurance policies and instructions for distributing assets upon their death. An appointed executor manages this process and works with the heirs on preserving the estate.

Sometimes, distributing assets does not go as planned. Some heirs may feel slighted or ignored by the will and file a claim in probate court, a legal battle that may last months or years. Parents cannot predict everything their children may do, but they can involve their family during the drafting process.

3 steps to transparent estate planning

Parents who use transparent estate planning can share their intentions with their family. Parents can answer questions and reduce skepticism among heirs. Following these steps can help heirs get through the grieving process and come together as a family:

  1. Find the best lawyer: The best estate management attorneys have experience parsing through dense legal documents from dozens of different sources. Accountants and financial managers frequently work with retirees and their lawyers and may offer recommendations.
  2. Draft a financial review: These documents simplify the inheritance process by clearly identifying assets to distribute and their location. Parents can also identify insurance plan beneficiaries, list liabilities and debts, include contact information for financial and legal professionals involved in the estate, list login information for important websites, and identify non-financial assets and their beneficiaries.
  3. Invite heirs to a family meeting: Parents can then inform their family during a family meeting. A meeting is also an excellent opportunity to introduce the executor and build trust. Heirs can voice their concerns, ask questions and even offer their preferences on non-financial assets or otherwise. Parents can help a family understand the stakes together, so there are no surprises when the time comes.

An attorney can answer estate planning questions

Those with questions about transparent estate planning or dealing with the family can reach out to a local attorney familiar with Florida’s estate law. A lawyer can recommend financial advisors, draft comprehensive end-of-life documents and work with the probate courts.