We each have different things that we enjoy most about the holiday season. Most of us can agree, however, that the holidays are a great chance to catch up with family members and spend quality time with our loved ones. While you are checking in with your loved ones during the holidays this year, have you given some thought to sharing your estate plan and planning goals with the people who mean the most to you? It may seem like an unconventional time to discuss plans for when you are no longer here, but in reality it is important that your loved ones understand your decisions and the legacy you wish to leave for them.
Before discussing your plans with your loved ones, we encourage you to take some time to think about your planning goals and how your estate plan is set up to accomplish them. Refreshing your memory to remember the reasons for making each decision will likely make it easier for you to express your thought process behind those decisions to your loved ones. Clear communication is key to helping alleviate any uncertainty or family conflict that may arise after your passing in an already difficult time. It is also important to consider how you would like the conversation to proceed. Would you prefer to bring documents with you, for example, to illustrate your plans or would a brief conversation initially suffice?
During the conversation, allow your loved ones to voice their opinions, share their concerns, and ask questions. Listen to your loved ones’ worries and validate their feelings, but remember that your estate plan is your creation and you should stand by the planning decisions you have made. The key to having an effective discussion about your estate plan is transparency. Above all, do not let this be the last conversation you have about your planning decisions. We encourage you to update your loved ones about any changes made to your planning documents, so they feel involved and informed about the planning process.
Do not wait until it is too late to have this conversation with your loved ones. We know this can be a difficult discussion to have, but think about the family values you wish to pass on and the reason why you created an estate plan in the first place. Remember, we are here to be a resource for you. If you need further advice or have questions about anything discussed here, do not wait to contact us.