Estate planning conversations are often uncomfortable. Many avoid having them, as no one wants to think about death. However, these are important conversations to have, and there are ways to discuss it that will make the conversation easier.
Whether we want to talk to elderly parents or adult children, bringing up the topic of estate planning can often feel morbid. None of us like to think about our own mortality or that of those we love. Experts agree that these conversations should be had, if only to ensure that your affairs are in order and your final wishes are respected. There are better and worse ways to approach the subject, and we will look at some of the best ways to talk about estate planning with your family and friends.
Set aside time to have the discussion
Bringing up estate planning during a holiday party or over dinner might not be wise. When you need to discuss a serious matter, it would be best to let your loved one know that you want to talk, and plan a time to visit in person.
Be sure to find a time where there won’t be a lot of distractions. Don’t spring the conversation on your loved one – pick a day and time about a week or two in advance. Let them know that you have questions about their planning, and that you want to ensure that they have everything in order.
Be patient, especially with older relatives or friends
This may not be a conversation that can be had all at once. Often, the discussion around estate planning can be complex, involving different accounts, beneficiaries, executors, and final wishes. Even when you inform your loved one that you want to discuss these matters, many of the documents may be difficult for them to locate or may not be readily available. Or, if your relative is older, they may forget some things.
Being patient and understanding will go a long way in making the conversation more comfortable for both you and your loved one. You can always discuss these matters at a different time, so it is important to be understanding.
Make your intentions clear before starting a conversation about estate planning
When approaching a sensitive topic like estate planning, it is helpful to make your intentions clear. By letting your family know that you are just looking out for their best interests, you can calm any nerves around that subject.
Be sure to stress how important the conversation is to everyone that is affected. One way to do this is to show an example of an estate that was improperly handled because family members had failed to discuss their plans with each other. For example, you can bring up the numerous celebrities that have passed on without wills, and the chaos their lack of planning caused for their loved ones.
Should I discuss estate planning with my children?
Depending on their age, children should be made aware of any estate planning items that will impact them. Preparing children for the inevitable might seem like a difficult task, but it is a necessary one.
If your children are adults, it is perfectly appropriate, and even advisable, to discuss estate planning matters with them. Your adult children may feel uncomfortable discussing your end of life wishes, but this is only because they love you. Follow the advice above by being patient and timing the conversation appropriately.
If your children are too young, then your best move may be to ensure that their designated guardians are informed of the estate planning elements concerning the children. Be sure to include all items contained in your digital will as well. Remember, if you have a DigitalWill.com account to document all aspects of your digital footprint, your selected loved ones will be automatically notified and details shared upon your death.
Discussing end of life issues is always a bit uncomfortable. Following the advice above will help the conversation be productive and helpful. Be sure to account for your digital assets with a digital will from DigitalWill.com.