Creating an estate plan for you and your spouse can often be a challenge. You want to make sure that your loved ones are taken care of when you are gone, yet discussing this delicate topic can often be both difficult and emotional. However, no matter how uncomfortable, it is essential that you discuss your estate plans with your loved ones before you pass and chances are your loved one will be very happy you did.
- Hold Your Discussions in a Comfortable Setting
You need to discuss your estate with your loved one in a setting that is best for you and your family. For some people, who are dividing everything equally, a large family meeting is best. Others who have personal or specifics bequests may want to sit down one-on-one with each family member. There is no wrong way to do it; you just have to do what you feel is right for all parties involved.
- Try to Stay Focused on the Topic at Hand
If there are two topics that most people don’t like discussing, it would probably be death and money. Unfortunately, these are two topics that fall under the umbrella of estate planning. There is no handbook for talking about estate planning, but the more straightforward and upfront you are about the topic, the more comfortable everyone will be. It can be easy to feel emotional when talking about a future without you in it, but the less emotional you are, the easier it will be for your loved ones to contribute to the conversation.
- Make Sure to Discuss Caregiving
A lot of estate planning comes down to dollars and cents, but there are other topics that you will need to discuss with your family members, particularly related to elder care. Power of Attorneys, money, driving and living arrangements are all categories that need to be discussed. Who is going to make healthcare decisions for you if you can’t? This needs to be addressed early on.
Talking to your children about how they and their siblings should handle caregiving can be a delicate issue, but it is better for your family in the end. You can get some peace of mind knowing that your intentions are clear and that there will be no confusion among your children or family members should they need to make these difficult decisions.
- Make Sure to Cover What is In Your Will
There is a misconception among some that the contents of their will should be kept private until they pass. However, discussing your will with your family members can be helpful for all involved so they are prepared and there are no surprises later on. This can be difficult if you have blended households or multiple generations of family members as keeping expenses, responsibilities, and benefits all equal can be a challenge with so many involved. Take your time when making a plan, so you feel everything is fair and then sit down individually, or with groups of family members to discuss your decision.
- Remember There is No Wrong Way to Divide Assets
Dividing assets is one of the most delicate parts of estate planning, even more, delicate than dividing responsibilities. Some people emphasize fairness and leave equal shares and to every family member. Others prefer to make one-of-a-kind personal gifts to every child and grandchild, according to what they feel is best. There is no wrong way to divide assets and sometimes family members may be surprised by or not agree with your approach—however, it is always up to you and what you feel is best. If a family member doesn’t agree with you, don’t feel pressured to change your plan.
While discussing topics such as finances and wills can sometimes be uncomfortable, make sure that you take the time to talk about these important topics with those you care about the most. If you ever have questions about estate planning or how to talk to your loved ones about your plans, make sure to consult an expert attorney for advice. The professionals here at Hegwood Law Group are always available to sit down and talk to our clients about the intricacies involved in estate plans.