How to Talk to Your Family About Your Estate Plan

Virtually no one likes to talk about life for others after they are gone. However, if you want to plan effectively for your loved ones and retain your legacy, you need to have this difficult conversation with friends and family who will be affected by your estate plan. Reframing the discussion and approaching it delicately can go a long way toward having a less uncomfortable and more productive conversation.

Think of Relationships Rather Than Current Discomfort

While it is uncomfortable talking about your estate plan now, consider the alternative. If you do not tell your children your burial plans or wishes, will they struggle emotionally to guess at what you would have wanted? Being forthcoming now will prevent arguments, hurt feelings, surprises, and even potential litigation down the road. Having the conversation today could save your loved one’s relationships in the future.

Discussing Values Instead of Money

Keep in mind that this conversation is more than about money or material possessions. It is about preparing for the future and letting your family and friends know what is important to you. Framing the discussion regarding family values, as opposed to just money or property, will help you have a better conversation.

For example, consider which of your property is particularly valuable to you? Why is it valuable? Is it because it has monetary worth or is it more focused on intangible or immeasurable value? Don’t you want your children to know and understand why you hold certain things as more valuable than others? Explaining these intricacies of your plan, including your specific goals, will prevent confusion and potential neglect regarding items you hold dear in the future.

Be Sensitive to Timing and Who is Present

Keep in mind that a conversation about your estate plan is likely to catch your family off guard. Your family may become emotional or even defiant about having the discussion. Allow everyone to express their feelings while also indicating why you think this topic is so important. Emphasize that you want your loved ones to be aware of what is happening now to prevent confusion and potential conflict in the future.

Although a crisis may trigger your thinking about an estate plan, it may not be the best time for a rational conversation about the future. Pick a calm time when everyone can be present for the discussion. Allowing everyone to be in the same conversation about the issue will permit everyone to express their opinion or address concerns from others.

Talking about the future is often uncomfortable, but it is a good idea for everyone involved. If you need help with your estate plan or ideas on how to speak with the important people in your life about your plan, we can help. Contact Legacy Planning Law Group for more information or schedule an appointment.

Written by Legacy Planning Law Group

Legacy Planning Law Group is dedicated to working with individuals and families to help protect the assets they have built throughout their life, and make everything simpler for families who have lost a loved one. We help thoughtful people achieve the peace of mind that comes with planning their personal legacy and passing on family harmony.