A family meeting is a valuable estate planning tool that can be used to reduce the likelihood of conflict or complications during the estate administration process. Concerns over privacy and the disclosure of assets are common, however, when clients consider using this type of meeting as they create an estate plan in California. Fortunately, these concerns are easily addressed. Consider the following:
- Assets frequently change consistently over the course of a lifetime, and no one can predict when the family member will pass away.
- The value of the assets may be significantly different by the time the creator of the estate plan passes away.
- The attorney can characterize the estate plan during the family meeting as a “contingency plan,” stressing that the main goal for the client is to use and enjoy his assets during his lifetime. Gifts to loved ones are a contingency plan in the event the client does not spend down the majority of his wealth during his lifetime.
- The attorney can tailor the family meeting to avoid a specific disclosure of amounts or types of assets. The meeting can still serve many other valuable purposes, including the introduction of the beneficiaries to the fiduciaries and the professional advisors.
- The client not obligated to disclose any information to beneficiaries that he does not feel comfortable revealing.
To learn more about whether the family meeting is right for your overall estate plan, contact the knowledgeable Orange County trust attorneys at the Law Office of James F. Roberts & Associates, APC. Call our office today at (714) 459-5481 for a consultation.