Talking to the Family About Estate Planning

On Behalf of | May 4, 2020 | Estate Planning |

Estate planning can be an uncomfortable subject for family members to discuss. This can be especially true when adult children have to raise the issue with their aging parents. It’s not always easy having to face your own mortality or that of those you love. Although no one wants to discuss the potential loss of a loved one, avoiding the topic won’t help the situation or make it easier to manage later on. By talking to the family about estate planning today, you can help the people who matter most to you make the right preparations for the future.

Pick the Right Time to Talk

As with any difficult conversation, you will want to pick your timing carefully. Depending on the sensitivity of the subject, bringing the topic up in the wrong place and at the wrong time, could be detrimental.  Just because you and your family will be together for a holiday or special occasion, it doesn’t mean that this is the right occasion to bring up estate planning. A Memorial Day party, grandchild’s birthday, or graduation celebration will not necessarily be a welcoming environment for such a weighty topic. Select your time and location with consideration for those with whom you need to communicate. Calling your siblings and parents to talk about matters over coffee at your home may be ideal. Going to your family member’s home for a brief discussion could also be an appropriate way to bring up the subject.

Listen and Work Cooperatively

It’s vital to remember that when you are talking to your parents or other relatives about what they want to do with their estate plans, it can feel intrusive. These are adults who are used to managing their own affairs and finances. If raised in the wrong way, questions about their money, autonomy, and future plans may not be well-received. Talking to your loved ones about your own plans and letting them know you want to begin a dialogue where everyone has an equal voice can help get things started on the right foot. By expressing that you want to work through the issues collaboratively, you are more likely to be able to communicate effectively with your loved ones.

Develop Concrete Topics Beforehand

When sitting down with your family members, it will help if you have a list of topics to discuss with everyone. With families, conversations can stray off into sub-topics, and you could end up missing a crucial area. Further, having to bring estate planning up with those closest to you can be stressful and emotional, and it’s easy to forget to ask essential questions under these conditions. When you have a detailed list of areas to cover, you can maintain focus during the conversation and make sure that everything is discussed.

Contact a California Estate Planning Attorney

One of the best ways to develop a comprehensive list of topics is by meeting with an experienced California estate planning attorney to discuss the subject matter and your concerns. You and your attorney can review your estate plan, your family situation, and the different areas that you feel may need to be addressed.

At the Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo, we understand the importance of talking with your family about estate planning and have the expertise to help you take a comprehensive look at your situation.  Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.


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