How to Talk to Your Family About Estate Planning

estate planning

How to Talk to Your Family About Estate Planning

Few people love to start a conversation about estate planning with their loved ones. Whether you are the one considering planning your estate, or you are one of the family members who wants to discuss this awkward topic with a parent, it can make you so uncomfortable you avoid it. Sometimes, unfortunately, we put it off too long. Awkward or not, talking to your family about estate planning is crucial. Without a will, family members will suffer difficulties, stress, and sometimes even financial burdens. Around this holiday season, it’s likely you’ll spend time around family. Commit to push past the social awkwardness to start this difficult, but important conversation.

Why You Need a Will

Here are just a few reasons why it’s important to have that discussion with your family about estate planning. You can:

  • Decide how your assets get distributed
  • Minimize your estate taxes
  • Keep probate costs lower for your loved ones
  • Decide who will care for your children

With a successful conversation about estate planning, your family will be in charge of all the decisions regarding assets. Probate is the process that occurs after someone passes on, and it determines how assets are distributed. If you are interested in the details of the probate process, take a look at our earlier blog post on the topic. We also clear up some misunderstandings about what estate planning entails in our earlier article, Why the Time for Estate Planning is Now.

How to Have a Family Conversation About Estate Planning

The holidays are approaching, a time when families often gather together. This may not strike you as the most opportune moment to raise the subject of estate planning, but in fact it can be the perfect time. Everyone is together, remembering other holidays with family members. It’s an opportunity for focusing on what’s important in your family, for taking care of each other.

Most parents want to take care of their children, look out for their best interests, even when everyone is an adult and living on their own. If you broach the subject in these terms–considering what’s best for everyone, parents included, it can make it easier.

Make it clear that your main interest is finding out what your parents want; what are their wishes? Without estate planning, things will probably not turn out the way the would have wanted. You can point out that the probate process will decide how assets are distributed without any input from the family if there hasn’t been any estate planning. Most people do not want a stranger deciding which of their children will inherit which assets. Also, probate is typically longer and more expensive without estate planning.

Everyone knows this is a tricky subject to address, but once you manage to start this vital conversation, you will be doing your entire family a service.

Here at Rapier & Bowling, our legal experts are well-versed in all the details of estate planning and the probate process. Feel free to reach out to us if you have any further questions.

PHOTO: Pixabay / CC0 Public Domain

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