Death and money represent two subjects that most folks do not want to discuss. This reality underscores the difficulty of a family estate planning conversation – both subjects come together in one discussion.
Despite the inherent challenges of an estate planning conversation with family members, it must be done. There are four tips to consider when contemplating an estate planning conversation with the family.
Take a Proactive Approach to an Estate Planning Conversation
Do not wait until a crisis exists to engage in an estate planning conversation with family members. Rather, a proactive approach is crucial. Select and time and place in which a conversation of this nature can be undertaken without the added burden of a sick family member.
Estate Planning Conversation in a Safe Environment
Select a safe and comfortable environment for an estate planning conversation. Being able to control the environment where this discussion takes place is another reason for taking a proactive approach. “The comfort of your own home” is a turn of phrase that illustrates the type of environment in which a conversation about estate planning issues occurs.
In anticipation of a family estate planning conversation, it is important for the presenting family member to be well prepared. The basic objectives of an estate plan must be outlined. Ideally, an initial consultation with a skilled, experienced estate attorney occurs before the scheduling of this family confab.
Honestly Answer Questions
As part of being prepared for an estate planning conversation question, a person must also be ready to honestly and accurately respond to questions. If questions arise for which a person lacks an answer, that fact should honestly be conveyed to the questioner.
In addition, there may be some information that appropriately should not be shared with family members. As a result, precise boundaries should be established at the outset of a family estate planning conversation.
By engaging in a candid estate planning conversation with family members, these relatives will be both empowered and have a sense of buy-in to the estate plan itself. They will be in a better position to address estate related matters at the time the presenting family member passes away. Moreover, deficiencies that might exist in an estate plan oftentimes are realized and identified through this type of communication process.