Jennifer R. Lewis Kannegieter has authored a variety of books, e-books, and special reports related to estate planning and family law. Please … Learn More about Books By Jennifer R. Lewis Kannegieter
While the topic of death is not one that people want to think about, the truth is that it’s important to plan for what will happen once you die. For many families, the holiday season is the only time they come together all year. This can be a good time to talk to your family about estate planning wishes so you can ensure you are on the same page with what you want.
One of the most important steps in talking to your family about estate planning wishes is to acknowledge that this is their money that they have worked hard to acquire and all you’re trying to do is help them with their planning by providing information. Your goal is to ensure things go the way they want it to and to let them know that you will respect their wishes regardless of what they are. Here are a few tips on how to approach the subject.
Talk to Other Family Members First
Before you discuss estate planning with your elders, discuss it with other family members so it doesn’t look like you are going behind their backs. Everyone should be able to express his or her opinions and concerns. If any member of the family cannot be present when you meet with your elders, then have them write down what they want to share.
Explain the Importance of Wills and Trusts
This is a very important part of estate planning because this is where you designate who gets what. When everyone knows exactly what you want them to have, it helps to keep peace within the family. Wills and trusts also help to prevent the government from gaining control of the estate and they will help you plan for unexpected medical or some other expense. By talking to your family about wills and trusts, you can help them see the importance of estate planning and why it’s something, they need to do as soon as possible.
Find Out Their Plans
When talking to family members about estate planning, it’s important to find out when and where they want to retire and the estimated amount of money needed to accomplish their goal. You should also discuss how they plan to obtain this money. For example, are they relying on savings, a pension or do they plan to sell the estate to get the money needed for retirement?
You never know what concerns and worries are going on in the mind of your elders. They could be worried they may have to sell their estate to pay medical bills or they may not know when they’ll retire or where. Another problem is sibling rivalry. When the kids don’t get along, it can be hard to talk about estate planning.
If there is a problem or if your family members prefer not to discuss it, then referring them to a financial planning may be the best way to go. Always focus on their concerns and support their decisions and terms, even if you don’t agree with everything. While it can be hard to talk to your family about estate planning wishes, it can put everyone’s mind at ease once decisions have been made and a plan is put into action.