Feb 04, 2019

Estate Planning: What and When to Communicate With Your Beneficiaries

By Cary Carbonaro

Photo credit: Getty Images

When developing your estate plan, the first step should be identifying what your goals are, beginning with how much, and who you’d like the beneficiaries of those assets to be. After you’ve quantified your goal and designed a tax efficient distribution plan with your estate planning attorney, the next question becomes: What and when should I tell my heirs?

Some clients are more open than others when it comes to talking about money. Some may have a specific reason why they need to talk about it, where others may not feel it’s not appropriate until after they’re gone. Based on my experience, every client is different, and you are going to hear varying opinions on the subject. In my opinion, what information you choose to share is completely dependent upon the circumstances, such as:

  • How comfortable are you with talking about money?
  • Are the recipients of your estate mature enough to understand what you are telling them?
  • Are the recipients of your estate mature enough to handle the legacy you’re leaving?
  • Do you believe your heirs need any financial education prior to receiving their share of your estate?
  • Is there any jealousy or bad blood between the various respective heirs?
  • Could the way you divided your estate create tension between the respective heirs after you’re gone, particularly if discussed in advance?

These are all important questions you should be asking yourself during the estate planning process and I would suggest consulting with your team of advisers prior to discussing or sharing any information with your heirs. At the end of the day, you should do what makes the most sense for you and your family’s needs.

Cary Carbonaro

Cary Carbonaro

United Capital Financial Advisers, LLC (“United Capital”), is an affiliate of Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC and subsidiaries of the Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., a worldwide, full-service investment banking, broker-dealer, asset management and financial services organization. Investing involves risk and clients should carefully consider their own investment objectives and never rely on any single chart, graph or marketing piece to make decisions.

The information contained in this blog is intended for information only, is not a recommendation, and should not be considered investment advice. Please contact your financial adviser with questions about your specific needs and circumstances. This blog is a sponsored blog created or supported by United Capital and its employees, organization or group of organizations. This blog does not accept any form of advertising, sponsorship, or paid insertions. Certain authors of our blog posts may be influenced by their background, occupation, religion, political affiliation or experience. It is important to note that the views and opinions expressed on this blog are that of the owner, and not necessarily United Capital Financial Advisers. As a Registered Investment Adviser, United Capital does not allow any testimonials on their blog, and any comments deemed as such United Capital will remove.

United Capital does not offer tax, legal, or accounting advice; therefore all articles should not be taken as such. Readers should obtain their own independent legal, tax or accounting advice based on their particular circumstances. All referenced entities in this site are separate and unrelated to United Capital. Any references to any specific commercial product, process, or service, or the use of any trade, firm or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public, and does not constitute endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by United Capital.