Telling family members about estate plans is a delicate matter. I recommend the following approach.
1. Obtain the consent of executor, trustee, and guardian to serve. Do not surprise them with their responsibilities at death.
2. Inform the executor of the location of the documents, but do not necessarily provide a copy if they contain provisions that will upset family harmony if known.
3. For adult children who will inherit a significant sum of money, do not inform them of the amount but suggest to them that they seek financial advice and work with the family financial advisor.
4. Related to No. 2, by all means if a child is being disinherited, or if assets are being left to charity instead of to nieces and nephews, do not inform anyone. If they find out, the disinherited heirs could make the client's life miserable and make the client wish for a hastened death.