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Talking to your family about estate planning doesn’t have to be hard. By choosing the right talking points and framing things in a positive light, you can build a meaningful point of connection. And most importantly, you’ll gain peace of mind.
Read on to learn how you can broach the topic of estate planning with your family members.
Plan How Specific You Want to Be
When it’s time to meet with your family, know that you don’t have to disclose everything. If you are concerned about friction between family members over inheritance allocations, consider keeping some things private.
It may be wise to disclose plans for bigger items, like properties or cars, but you may wish to keep exact monetary amounts of the inheritance private. Remind your family that your goal is to reduce their stress and burdens in the longterm.
Find the Right Time for the Conversation
Only about 40% of Americans have a will, so taking the time to map out plans for your assets is a smart move. Once you’ve made some decisions regarding your will, you’ll need to talk to the loved ones who will be affected by them.
With any important conversation, you’ll need to carve out the right time for it. Avoid choosing a holiday gathering or other event where the topic could feel out of place, and be sensitive to the time constraints and stresses of your family. Most of all, be proactive so you don’t face a scenario where you’re forced into the conversation — or it’s too late.
Be Clear and Transparent
The key to having a successful conversation about wills is to be honest and transparent. You don’t want anyone in your family to feel left out, so plan on having some written communication for those unable to be present for the conversation.
Express your wishes regarding long-term care, and take notes. Your family members may have thoughts or concerns that could reshape your plans.
Turn to the Experts for Estate Planning Guidance
To write a will, you’ll need to know your assets as well as your debts, such as car loans and mortgages. You’ll also need to assign someone you trust to be the executor. And you’ll need to make sure your will aligns with state laws.
These steps can add up. And when it comes to mixing family and finances, sometimes it’s better to turn to the experts for help. Using a will lawyer ensures that you’ll have everything clearly documented so you can avoid confusion among family members.
Have the Conversation
Estate planning may seem like a sticky topic that’s easier to avoid, but you’ll feel better in the long run if you take the time to talk with your loved ones about it. By tieing up loose ends, you won’t burden your family members down the road. Plan your conversation carefully, and you’ll gain more trust and understanding.
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