It is very easy to find bad estate planning advice on the Internet. Make sure that you are listening to experts.
If you start Googling for advice about what to do with your estate, you are likely to find some good sources of information. You are also likely to find a lot of bad information, even from people who put themselves out as trusted sources.
A recent column in the Mercury News, "Money Manners," is an example of the problem.
A couple wrote in to ask the columnists' advice about something their attorney suggested they do.
The attorney suggested that they convene a family meeting to discuss the terms of their estate plan. The couple was hesitant, because they knew not everyone would be happy with their plans and they did not want to deal with the fallout.
Unfortunately, the columnists then gave bad advice and suggested that the attorney only gave his advice, so he did not have to be the one to deliver the bad news to the family after the couple passed away.
The problem is that most estate planning attorneys do advise clients to talk to their families about their plans and what they should expect to receive, if not specifically, at least generally.
That advice is not given to make it easy on the attorney.
The reason for the advice is so people are made aware of the plans ahead of time and have a chance to express any discontent. Once informed, people are much less likely to pursue litigation over the estate.
When people learn the reasons behind the decisions they do not like, they have time to digest and accept them without costing the estate a small fortune in litigation costs.
The lawyer, in this case, would stand to earn more money if any of the family members did decide to sue.
Make sure the advice you receive is from experts. Listen to your attorney.
Reference: Mercury News (July 13, 2017) "Money Manners."