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Five Awkward Estate Planning Questions

  • By: Christopher Benson
  • Published: December 15, 2013

Some estate planning issues are obvious. But some things can present a problem if not disclosed, no matter how uncomfortable it is.

For some of these questions, you may be the only living person who does know the truth, so be honest and upfront with your estate-planning attorney at the very least, and there won’t be any uncomfortable surprises when you’re gone.

  • Are there any descendants you haven’t mentioned? Undisclosed beneficiaries raise some difficult issues in planning, but even moreso if they become disclosed at a funeral or during probate. Be sure and give your estate attorney a heads up as to who may have legitimate claims to property or assets, even if it’s not a widely known fact.
  • Have you disclosed all the important relationships in your life? Your estate attorney is there to make sure there are no loose ends after your passing, so help him or her out. If you had a previous marriage, domestic partnership, or civil union, disclose it now to avoid lawsuits and court battles over assets later.
  • Do you have genetic material stored anywhere? If you have sperm, eggs, or embryos currently stored for later use, your estate should plan for how to handle them. You can choose how to provide for future children and ownership of genetic material.
  • Are you transgender? It’s critical to make sure that gender identification matches on all your documents. Your attorney may know of places to look for this that you aren’t aware of. So if you are in the middle of a transition or already had one, you should disclose it to your planner.
  • Who is going to take care of your pets? You may not need to set up a full trust to care for your shelter mutt, but it would be nice for family or friends to know, be willing and able to care for your pets after you pass. Think about it ahead of time and avoid additional stress on your animals.

Over the past 27 years, the Law Offices of Christopher A. Benson has helped more than 800 clients prepare and utilize simple and effective planning techniques to protect them and their families in order to avoid probate, save estate taxes, save money and save added emotional burden that comes from long term illness and/or death of a family member. Give us a call to schedule a free consultation to find out how we can help you and your family.

Christopher Benson

About the Author Chris served on the Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity
Seattle/S. King County for 10 years and served as Vice President
of the organization during part of that time. Read More