Estate planning is one of those things that we all know we should do but often put off. It can be difficult to think about our death and what will happen to our loved ones when we’re gone. However, having an estate planning conversation is important, and it doesn’t have to be a difficult process.
When should you have an estate planning conversation?
There’s no right or wrong time to have an estate planning conversation, but there are a few times when it’s especially important. If you have young children, for example, it’s important to make sure that you think about having a will and other estate planning documents that designate someone to take care of them if something happens to you.
If you’re getting closer to retirement age, it’s also a good idea to start thinking about estate planning. You’ll want to make sure that your finances are in order and that your heirs know about your wishes concerning your assets after you die.
The bottom line is that there’s no wrong time to have an estate planning conversation; just have one as soon as you can.
How to start the conversation
You will need to decide whether to speak to an attorney or to your loved ones first. Either way is okay, but talking with a lawyer might be easier in the long run since that person will give you a framework for thinking about the plan. Starting an estate planning conversation with your family can be difficult, that’s why you first need to choose a comfortable environment in which to have the conversation – perhaps over dinner or a cup of coffee.
After that, stress the importance of the conversation. Tell your loved one(s) that you want to make sure that they are taken care of if something happens to you and that you’re not comfortable leaving things up to chance.
Next, make sure that you’re both on the same page concerning what you want to discuss. Get ready to answer questions about your assets, your loved ones, and your wishes for the future. You might choose to keep some aspects of your plan secret, for instance, if you think you might want to make changes later, so make sure that you and your lawyer at least have a clear understanding of your current wishes.
Finally, make a plan to meet again, with both the attorney and your loved ones, and continue the conversation. It’s important to remember that estate planning is an ongoing process, and you’ll want to revisit your plans occasionally to make sure that they still reflect your wishes.
When it comes to having an estate planning conversation, there are no hard and fast rules. The most important thing is that you’re open and honest with each other during the conversation, and that the lawyer understands your intentions so the documents you need can be properly drafted and executed.