|Debbie Pecor, Senior Paralegal|
How much information is too much information?
There’s a loaded question! After my grandmother passed, my dad and my aunts asked my grandfather if he had a will. He replied, “Yes.” Years later, however, when he passed, there was no will to be found. Not that it necessarily made a huge difference since he probably would have left his estate in equal shares to his children. I know what his logic was: his money was his business and none of theirs.
My father always told me that it was none of my business what anyone else was getting paid and it was none of anyone else’s business what I was getting paid. What a change through the generations! Today, everything is posted on social media practically before it’s happened! It’s like no one cares about privacy anymore.
Estate planning documents, particularly wills and/or trusts, should remain private and not be shared with anyone. There are just too many instances where your documents could get into the wrong hands. It is certainly okay to let someone outside the family know if you have named them in a position of authority, but please do not give them a copy of anything. Instead, simply let them know that you have prepared documents and tell them who they need to contact (the attorney who prepared your documents) if something happens to you, whether it is death, incapacity, or incompetency. Let’s keep our family matters private as best as we can in this age of almost instant information.
By the way, my grandfather’s estate was settled with NO arguments, problems or court actions! And there were NINE children. That’s almost unheard of in this day and age. Maybe it was because his children thought the same way he did – it was his business and none of anyone else’s.