There’s no perfect time to discuss Estate Planning with your family. We all know that everyone passes away eventually, but many of us often want to conveniently forget that reality.
Faced with the decision between taking the initiative to start a family discussion about estate planning and putting it off until later, most people procrastinate. But that means opening your family up to some really unpleasant consequences in the future. That is why unappealing as it may seem at first, the best time to schedule your family meeting is now.
The short- and long-term value of calling a family meeting
Procrastination is often the biggest obstacle to successful estate planning. It may have been a while since your plan was updated or reviewed, or you have parents or loved ones that have not put their “affairs in order”.
The best way to begin usually isn’t to talk about specific documents like wills, trusts, and powers of attorney or your assets. Rather, it’s to have a conversation with your family about Goals, Plans, and Hopes for the future.
In the short term, you’ll meaningfully connect with your family and express the care for them that your estate plan represents. In the long term, you have Peace of Mind knowing your family and loved ones will be prepared for the future and understand the reasons you planned the way you did.
How to get started on securing your family’s future
Estate Planning will empower your family’s goals by providing a framework for the effective passing of wealth from this generation to the next. It also outlines how you will be cared for in the event of Disability or Catastrophic Illness.
Have a conversation with your family. It may be you need to help your parents get their plans in order, or you may need to have this discussion with your children.
Then, meet with your estate planning attorney to get the plan up to date and continue discussing your plan with your family, especially those who are designated to serve as successors and agents.
Please have this discussion BEFORE a death, accident, or significant illness. No one is psychic—it’s much easier to carry out someone’s wishes if they’ve been explicitly stated and discussed beforehand. And when everyone in the family knows what to expect in the event of a death, disability or catastrophic illness. When this occurs, families need to spend that time supporting one another and grieving rather than scrambling with paperwork.
In some cases, sharing the reasons behind your plan can even eliminate or minimize conflict that sadly too often occurs after the death of a parent or grandparent.
Schedule a meeting with us before the holidays
With the holiday season coming up, you’re probably already starting to look at flights and locations for holiday parties and such. Now is the time to organize your thoughts so that, in addition to the merriment of the coming holiday season, family gatherings can include a discussion about what’s next for the family’s estate planning. Give us a call today so we can get you ready to cover all the important points with your family. You‘ll be able to rest easy and focus on quality time together when you have an organized plan.
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