If your family is anything like mine, Estate planning rarely comes up in the course of regular conversation, and if it does, it usually involves what has happened to a celebrity’s fortune after his or her death. The distance is safe so that the conversation can take place.
Although uncomfortable, the subject should not be avoided. So, the question next is what if you need to discuss estate planning with a loved one – either your estate plan or the one they have (or should have)? Because no one likes to talk about the death of someone close to them, we rarely have this critical conversation., and yet we all should.
So how do you talk to a loved one about estate planning? Here are some good tips:
- Pick the right time. If it is too difficult to schedule a time for this conversation, have it when you are doing something else, like taking a walk.
- Start with a story. Use a story as an opener to the conversation, like the death of a celebrity and the havoc that failure to plan is wreaking on his or her estate or how you created your estate plan.
- Talk separately. It may be easier for parents with more than one child to have separate conversations with each child rather than talking to a
- Use a team approach. If you are having difficulty getting your spouse to focus on estate planning issues, communicate your concerns and deal with the issue as a couple. Talk about how aging requires us to make mature decisions and how you need to protect children with estate planning.
- Ask for feedback. After discussing your estate plan with your children, ask them individually how they feel about what you have explained. It may not change what you are doing, but it will let them feel they have a voice.
- Explain why. Explain to your children the principles that guided your decision about how your estate is being divided. This lessens the chance of conflict among siblings.
If you would like to learn more about estate planning strategies for your family, call our office today to schedule a time for us to sit down and talk.