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Family Conversations About Your Estate Plan

With holidays upon us, you’ve got a lot on your mind, right? Turkeys and ham don’t make themselves, and the longer you put off gift shopping, the more stressful that affair becomes. And then, of course, the house needs to be cleaned, family visits need to be scheduled, Christmas lights need to go up, and you’ve got to get a tree before only the spindly ones are left. It’s a lot, and so we hate to add to your list, but there’s one more item that really should be on it: a family conversation about your estate plan.

In this global world, it’s ever more common that family members live out-of-state or abroad and so it’s increasingly difficult to get everyone together for important family conversations.  Zoom is great, but there are some things you really want to address in person and your final wishes are an example. Often, the holidays are the only time everyone’s together which makes it an ideal time to broach the subject.

How to Talk to Your Family About Estate Planning

We’ve written about talking to your children about estate planning before and all the advice given there still applies. When bringing up the subject over the holidays, there are a few additional things you want to consider, however:

1. Start Slow

Different families will approach the conversation from different angles, and only you know what will work best for yours. Some let loved ones know what’s coming so that they have time to gather their thoughts. Others find alternative ways to steer the conversation toward estate planning, e.g. “Did I ever tell you about that article I read on Prince’s estate planning debacle?”.  Others still take children aside one by one to chat in private. There’s no “right” approach, but whichever you choose, don’t rush it, but do count on this being just the first conversation of many (new Holiday tradition, anyone?).

2. Think Ahead 

There’s a lot that goes into an estate plan.  Therefore, before you bring up the topic, make sure you know what needs addressing. Beyond your assets and where you’d like them to go, you need to designate an executor, choose a financial power of attorney agent, a healthcare representative, and, in many cases, a trustee – and, in all instances, a successor should the first-named person be unwilling or unable to serve.

3. Seek Professional Counsel

Executing your estate plan may be the single most important thing you ever do and so you want to be sure you make no oversights that could hurt your loved ones. An experienced estate planning attorney has guided dozens of families through the process and can do the same for yours.

To learn more about talking to your family about estate planning over the holidays, do not hesitate to reach out to The Law Firm of Blanche D. Smith either by calling (936) 301-0111 or using the contact form below.

Monique Hineline

Smith & Smith are very professional, informative, and relatable with examples and stories to ease the estate planning process. I had the best time at their lunch and learn. Even if you already have your estate planning in place I highly recommend attending a lunch and learn. Thanks Smith & Smith!