To Tell Or Not To Tell — When You're Planning Your Will

One of the things that should be on your to-do list when you're planning your will and having your attorney write it up for you is to evaluate whether you should tell people it impacts about its contents. Doing so is largely up to you, although certain people should definitely have an idea of your wishes in advance of your passing. For others, it's OK to learn something after you die and your executor shares the contents of the will. Here are some key people and some advice about whether or not you should tell them.

Executor: Yes

You'll definitely want to let the executor know that you've chosen him or her in advance. In actuality, you should confirm with the person that he or she is comfortable performing this role, rather than simply informing the person that he or she will be the executor. An executor's work begins very soon after your death, so it's important for whoever will be playing this important role to know about it in advance.

Children's Guardian: Yes

If you have young children, you'll need to choose a guardian for them and clearly detail this information when you write your will. This is another time that it's a good idea to talk to the person in advance. No one wants to find out upon someone else's passing that they've been chosen to assume guardianship of the deceased's children. This may be a job that the person cannot perform or strongly does not want to perform. By discussing this in advance with your preferred candidate, you'll avoid this issue.

Beneficiaries: It Depends

You don't need to let your beneficiaries know that you're including them in the will. Many people prefer not to tell their beneficiaries, leaving the amount of money or assets that they're getting as a surprise. You can also tell them, as you'll appreciate seeing their happiness and how they react to the announcement. Some people find that their relationship with a beneficiary can improve upon sharing this news, which can be ideal.

Non-Beneficiaries: No

If you're in a situation in which you're not leaving anything to someone who perhaps anticipates being a beneficiary, you'll also need to evaluate whether you want to inform this person or not. You can, but many people choose not to so that their decision doesn't create a rift with the person in question. Talk to an attorney like David R Webb Attorney to obtain more insight on this topic.