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Don't forget to communicate your estate plans with your children

Planning for our deaths is not high on the priority ladder for most Los Angeles residents. However, as we get older, we begin to come to terms with the inevitable -- our mortality. What more, as parents, it isn't always a pleasant topic of conversation to have with our children.

Recently, an article covered some helpful tips on how to draft an estate plan. It also reviewed some key talking points to communicate with any children or family members so that when the inevitable does occur, everyone who needs to know the details of the estate plan is all on the same page.

As many adult start planning for retirement and seriously contemplating an estate planning strategy, they also evaluate the plus and minuses of their loved ones. Parents need to look at their children's strengths and weaknesses, such as; who is better at handling money and who can they count on for long-term care.

One of the first steps recommended is to determine who to make as the executor of the estate. Not only is it important to make that decision but to also have a conversation with the person who you would like to designate. That conversation should include information like where the will is located and if there is an attorney involved in drafting and/or storing the important documents.

Also, it is recommended to talk about whether or not you have a living will or advanced medical directive. If you ever become incapacitated, it is important to let loved ones know how you would like your medical care to be handled; for example, whether or not you would like life-saving efforts to be performed by medical personnel.

Lastly, it is important to make a list of where everything is located. While bank accounts, insurance plans and the family bible may be some of the first thought for most families, in today's era of electronic information, it is also helpful to have a list of online accounts that need to be closed and updated.

While it is never easy to talk about death, not communicating with loved ones can lead to a lot of trouble and difficulties for surviving family members.

Source: Your Smart Money Move$, "What Four Estate Planning Things Parents Should Tell Their Children," Ted Jenkin, May 31, 2012

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