attorney meeting with client

Why You Shouldn’t Keep Secrets From Your Estate Planning Attorney

Attorney-client privilege allows clients to have free and open conversations with their lawyers in order to receive proper, well-informed guidance. At Surprenant & Beneski, P.C., we are well aware of the conflicts and disputes that can arise when an estate plan is constructed on a foundation that is not fully truthful. 

Since the whole point of creating an estate plan is to smooth your pathway to the future and to make life better for the loved ones you predecease, it is foolish and ineffective to leave unspoken a secret that may interfere with all you have worked so hard to build and protect.

If you are tempted to leave out important details when discussing your assets, debts, or relationships with your estate planning attorney, reconsider. Though telling family secrets may be uncomfortable or painful, not confiding in your estate planning attorney can be a costly mistake — financially and emotionally. 

Contact our accomplished estate planning attorneys now to find out the very real benefits of taking a solution-oriented professional into your confidence.

Family Secrets Are By No Means Rare

Like so many other private problems, you will find that family secrets are almost universal. Once you scratch the surface, you will find that nearly all families have private matters that may not be known even to all of the closest relatives. In many cases, secrets go unreported until a dying member of the family makes a deathbed confession or until a supposed stranger claiming to be a close relative shows up at the door after a death.

Negative Impact of Estate Planning Secrets

No one wants their will or trust contested or their estate divided up among more heirs than they intended. If you want to protect your assets for your own retirement, your potential incapacity, and as a legacy for those you love, it is essential that you pick an estate planning attorney you can trust with your secrets. 

While divulging private information may complicate things at first, in the long run, it will make it possible for a talented lawyer to resolve issues before they damage the fabric of your estate plan. 

Secrets You Should Never Keep From Your Estate Planning Attorney

Secrets kept from estate planning legal representation have run the gamut from financial to personal matters and may include:

  • A relative estranged from the family, who may or may not still be alive
  • A relative who is engaged in criminal behavior, incarcerated, or institutionalized
  • A child of a previous short-term marriage, relationship, or encounter
  • A marriage that was never annulled
  • A spouse from whom the client was never divorced 
  • A large gift that was given to one child unbeknownst to their siblings
  • A chronic or progressive illness of the client, spouse, or child
  • A client’s presumed child who is not biologically related to them
  • Hidden bank accounts, properties, or other assets that may be out of the state or even out of the country 
  • Sizable secret debts due to gambling, substance, or other addictions

As you can see, any one of the above secrets can greatly complicate or even completely derail an estate plan, cause serious family rifts, or leave your heirs and other beneficiaries without the inheritance you fully intend to leave them.

Contact Our Experienced, Trustworthy Estate Planning Attorneys Today

Our well-respected lead attorneys have been at the helm of Surprenant & Beneski for 20 years. We fully understand the complexities involved in planning, executing, and settling high-net-worth estates, LGBQT+ estates, estates involving blended families, and estates with one or more businesses. 

We also understand the fact that even in estates that seem relatively simple, untold secrets can get in the way of making productive decisions. Contact us now for an empathic, realistic discussion of your best options.