For both parents and children, discussing what will happen in the event of a loved one’s incapacity or death can be uncomfortable and emotionally taxing. Many of our clients tell us that they do not feel comfortable sharing details about financial matters or their estate plan with their loved ones. In reality, however, this is a crucial conversation to have. While there is no best time to discuss this topic, the holidays are a time when many of us will be spending quality time with our family and may provide an opportunity to have an open and productive conversation. There are many ways to accomplish this, which is why we want to share a few of those ways with you today.
- Hold the conversation in a comfortable setting.
Discussing your estate plan can be an overwhelming conversation to have. This is why it is important to hold the conversation in a setting that is comfortable for both you and your loved ones. If you are dividing your assets equally among family members, it may be worthwhile to meet with all beneficiaries at the same time. If, on the other hand, you are conveying specific bequests, you may prefer to meet with those recipients individually.
- Try to avoid getting distracted from the topic at hand.
Talking about such a sensitive topic can be emotionally charged. Your loved ones will likely have questions and may raise some concerns. When this happens, it is important that you listen and allow them time to express their thoughts. It is equally as important, however, to stand by your planning decisions. Each decision you made is part of the legacy you are leaving for your loved ones.
- Share as many details as you are comfortable with.
You may wish to have more than one conversation with your loved ones about your plans, but it is ultimately up to you to decide how many details you want to share at the initial sit down. While it is important to share the details of your planning documents, explaining your thought process behind each decision that you made may help your loved ones understand the legacy you are leaving and may help them feel more involved in the planning process.
There is no best way to discuss your arrangements for a time when you are no longer here, but these tips may help you start to think about sharing those plans with your loved ones. If you have questions about this, or any other estate planning topic, do not hesitate to contact our office.