Nobody likes surprises…well some people might! But I can almost guarantee when it comes to estate planning, most people don’t.
Of all the discussions we have with the people we help, estate planning is the most delicate and requires a lot more than a “one size fits all” approach. Managing family dynamics and expectations is often a concern due to differing opinions, values and relationships, plus the emotion that these conversations typically evoke.
Here’s my top 3 tips for effective estate planning discussions:
1. Start early! These discussions are often required to be held several times and therefore the sooner you can get your family comfortable in talking about your plans, wishes and expectations, the better.
2. Consider the effect your decisions will have on each of the beneficiaries and their relationship with you and other family members. In doing so, it allows you to think through how to best approach them both individually and as a group.
3. Share information and educate your beneficiaries as to why you have made certain choices and decisions. It’s important for family members to understand your reasoning to alleviate any action against your wishes after you die, especially if the estate is not being divided equally amongst those involved.
Managing family dynamics through open and honest conversations is never easy. Not many people like discussing a time where they won’t be around to share in the lives of their loved ones anymore and logistically it can be challenging to get everyone together. But it’s so important – not just to avoid conflict after your death, but to manage the feelings and sensitivities of those that you love most.
Have the conversation, put your plans in place with an estate planning expert and give yourself the peace of mind that your wishes will be respected.
As always, if you, or anyone you know, needs help in this area please email me directly.