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Open Communication and Estate Planning: Key Tips for Alzheimer's & Brain Awareness Month


Alzheimer's and brain awareness month

June is Alzheimer's & Brain Awareness Month, a time dedicated to increasing understanding and support for those affected by this condition. It's also an ideal moment to emphasize the importance of open communication in estate planning. Clear dialogue with your family can help prevent disputes and ensure that your wishes are honored, especially with the added challenges associated with cognitive decline.


Open Communication Avoids Disputes

Few people like surprises, particularly when it comes to matters of inheritance and estate planning. To minimize the shock your family might feel when they read your will or trust, consider including them in the planning process. If involving family members directly in planning seems too challenging, at least discuss your decisions with them.


Importance of Communication in Estate Planning:


Roles and Responsibilities:

  1. Before your passing, it’s crucial that family members are aware of the roles they will play in your will or trust. A U.S. Trust study reveals that less than one-third of individuals have discussed their estate plans with their children. Whether your relatives act as trustees, executors, or beneficiaries, they should know their roles and your expectations. This foresight allows them to decline particular roles if they feel unprepared or unwilling to take on the responsibilities.


Family Dynamics and Conflicts:

  1. Nearly twenty percent of inheritance recipients experience disputes over bequests, often due to longstanding family conflicts. Addressing any family discord during the planning process with both relevant family members and your estate planning attorney can help diffuse potential disagreements. This step ensures that your estate planning documents do not exacerbate existing tensions.


Clear Communication Can Prevent Disputes:

Explaining Your Choices:

  • By discussing your will or trust with your family, you can explain the reasoning behind certain decisions. For instance, some family members might initially oppose the idea of a trust, but a conversation about the tax benefits, professional asset management, and creditor protection might help them understand your perspective.

Advance Notice:

  • Families that report no conflicts over inheritance typically had advance notice about what to expect. Over sixty-three percent of these families had been informed beforehand, and over eighty percent felt they were treated fairly.


Alzheimer's Awareness and Communicating Estate Planning

Alzheimer's & Brain Awareness Month brings to light the importance of planning for cognitive decline. Open communication becomes even more critical when dealing with potential future incapacity.


Discussing Cognitive Decline:

  1. Address the possibility of cognitive decline openly with your family. Ensure that your healthcare and financial powers of attorney are in place and understood by those who will act on your behalf.

Regular Reviews:

  1. Regularly review and update your estate plan to reflect changes in your health, family dynamics, and state laws. Keeping your plan current can prevent future disputes and ensure your wishes are always honored.

Professional Guidance:

  1. Consulting with an experienced estate planning attorney is vital. They can help navigate complex issues and ensure that your plan is legally sound and reflects your wishes.


Clear communication is key to avoiding disputes and ensuring that your estate plan reflects your wishes. This June, as we observe Alzheimer's & Brain Awareness Month, take the opportunity to communicate your estate planning with your loved ones. Open dialogue can provide clarity, prevent conflicts, and ensure that your legacy is preserved according to your intentions.


Take charge of your estate planning this June. Contact us to ensure your plans are up-to-date and clearly communicated to your loved ones. Let's work together to secure your legacy and provide peace of mind for you and your family.


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