We have all seen depictions of the attorney-client privilege being demonstrated on television and in the movies. These are often criminal cases, but confidentiality is the order of the day in estate planning as well.
Sometimes people have gone through life with certain things that they wanted to keep confidential. This can involve long-term relationships, outside of marriage. In cases such as these there can be the expectation of an inheritance, but that will not happen if there is no provision in a formal estate plan. Be sure to disclose it to your lawyer.
If you were to pass away and someone with whom you are having a relationship was to come forward contending that you had made promises either verbally or in writing, but it is not contained in a will or trust, the estate could be held up in court for months while the matter was being hashed out.
There are also those who have given large gifts throughout their lives that they would rather not talk about. This is something that your attorney should be made aware of because of the existence of the federal gift tax.
Another thing to consider is life expectancy. Some people have health conditions that they would rather not speak about. However, if you know that you have a medical condition that could limit your life your attorney should be made aware of this because some courses of action are only useful if the individual in question lives for a certain amount of time.
If you are open, honest, and completely forthcoming when you explain your situation to your attorney you should walk out of the office with an ironclad estate plan that facilitates the eventual realization of your wishes in a smooth an efficient manner. And, it is completely confidential.
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