Estate planning is a difficult endeavor by itself. Discussing your estate plan, though, adds another layer of complexity to the process. While you may want to address its terms with your children or other loved ones, you might fear their responses. But explaining your decisions can help you prevent conflict and misunderstanding while you are alive.

Addressing fairness

Your estate plan may leave your children with unequal shares of your assets. They may have different financial and personal circumstances. And one may require assistance or special care that the others have no need for. Furthermore, you may choose to donate some of your assets, and your children may receive less than they expect. In either instance, discussing your decisions during your lifetime will stymie the chance of surprise once you die. And if you expect your children will squabble over your assets, clear communication about your intentions can help you address and resolve potential points of contention.

Addressing roles

Your estate plan likely places your children or other loved ones in important roles, and you must discuss these with them. You may own a business, which you want one of your children to take over upon your retirement or death. Informing them of your plan is imperative, since you need to ensure that they want to step into your role and are prepared to do so when the time comes. You might be mulling over an administrator for your estate, too, and you may have identified an adult child or relative who understands your affairs and has the responsibility to tend to them. And if you have minor children, you will need to choose a guardian to care for them in case something happens to you. Whoever you select for these rolls must know of their appointment, so they can avoid having it sprung on them suddenly.

Discussing your estate plan may seem a frightening prospect. But addressing it with your children and loved ones can help them understand the reasoning behind your wishes. And you will give them a blueprint for honoring these down the road.