Creating a Last Will and Testament can be a taxing process. You sometimes must make hard decisions concerning inheritances for your loved ones, or regarding who should be in charge of making decisions about your estate after you’ve passed away. Many times, these decisions aren’t easily accepted by your loved ones, and friction can occur in families as a result. A Last Will and Testament is a legal document that is meant to provide the court with instructions as to how your estate should be handled. However, this document does not allow you to clearly explain the decisions you’ve made to your family. This is why many LA County will and trust attorneys suggest leaving an explanatory letter along with your Last Will and Testament as a way to make it clear to your loved ones why you made the decisions you did, and hopefully ease some of their concerns.
Consider these scenarios:
- You have four children, but decide the youngest child is the best equipped to serve as executor of your estate. The oldest child is upset that he was not chosen to be executor.
- You have two children, and one is much more well off financially than the other. You decide to split their inheritance 70-30, and the wealthier child is upset the inheritance was not split evenly.
- You decide to leave the majority of your estate to a charity instead of passing it on to your children.
These are all scenarios that have occurred, and have caused serious issues within families. In many cases, children that were left out, or did not receive the responsibility or inheritance they thought they’d get are hurt because there was no explanation behind those choices. By leaving a letter explaining your choices and imploring your children to respect your decisions, you can at least provide them with some insight and understanding regarding your actions. While it may not solve all the problems that arise, leaving an explanatory letter will give you peace of mind that your wishes are known and your reasons are clear.
If you would like to leave an explanatory letter as part of your Last Will and Testament, or if you’d like to review your current estate plan with an experienced will and trust attorney, please call (818) 905-6088 to set up an appointment at our Los Angeles County estate and elder law office.