Talking about estate planning with your loved ones isn’t always easy. In fact, it can sometimes feel a bit morbid and uncomfortable for everyone involved. However, having frank conversations now can be a valuable gift for those you care about most, helping avoid or limit frustration, confusion, and other potential issues later. When you’re able to engage in an open dialogue with loved ones, you can make sure they understand the reasoning behind your decisions. Such conversations can also help heirs feel prepared, so when the time comes to execute your plan, they are not in the dark.
Here are four tips that can help make family estate planning discussions somewhat easier for you and everyone involved:
1. Start Early (and Repeat)
While it makes sense to hold off on talking about specifics with young children, there is no reason you cannot engage your children and grandchildren in discussions about your personal and family values starting at a young age. Talking generally about what’s most important to you can help create a common understanding for your legacy. Having age-appropriate discussions with adult children, and with your nominated personal representative, trustee, attorney-in-fact, and health care agent is the best way to ensure your wishes will be honored and carried out. Don’t wait until you become ill or until a crisis strikes.
However, having the conversation once is just the start (and a good start). There are some key life occurrences that call for an updated estate plan, and possibly updated conversations as well. You can learn more about those here.