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Creating an estate plan is often a very personal topic. Individuals in Tennessee might spend considerable amounts of time considering their end-of-life wishes and the type of legacy they would like to leave behind. While these topics do not necessarily require any input from loved ones, opening up the estate planning process to discussion can help families address potential contentious matters early on. Unfortunately, having the conversation itself can also be problematic.

In general, giving heirs a head’s up regarding their inheritance is a good idea. Doing so can be tricky, though, so it is a good idea to make sure that everyone involved in the conversation knows what topics are up for discussion. It can be very jarring for a person to come in expecting to discuss the contents of a will to then be confronted with a parent’s end-of-life medical wishes. Giving a notice between subject changes is also smart, as this gives everyone the opportunity to ready themselves for the topic at hand.

For those who are concerned that family members may not react well initially, laying ground rules is a good idea. Useful rules include no interrupting or talking over one another, listening respectfully and keeping family affairs private. The latter is particularly important for the person who is opening up and sharing his or her estate plan.

It is not required for anyone in Tennessee to divulge the contents of their estate planning, but it is still a good idea. Discussing everything beforehand makes it more difficult for someone to contest the validity of a will. Even if no one questions the will, a discussion beforehand can help heirs who might otherwise feel confused by unequal inheritances.