One of the most challenging decisions about the estate planning process is how to effectively discuss your plans with your children. If you are spending quality time with your children this holiday season, you may consider using this time to have an open conversation about your estate plan.
While there is no best way to approach the topic, there are ways that can help ensure the conversation is informative and effective for both you and your children. Many of our clients tell us that they are hesitant to share the details of their estate plan for fear of causing strife between family members. This, however, is an important conversation to have, which is why we want to share with you some ways to make the conversation as valuable as possible.
- Understand your goals for the conversation.
No estate plan looks exactly alike, as we each have different planning needs and family circumstances. This is one of the reasons why it is so important to understand your planning goals and what you hope to obtain from the conversation ahead of time. Thinking about your goals can also help to ensure that your estate plan is where you want and need it to be. The holidays can be a busy time, so ensure that you communicate about the best time to meet and have the conversation to help alleviate stress.
- Prepare to address questions and concerns.
More than likely, your children will have questions and concerns after you share your plans with them. Anticipating these questions ahead of time allows you to think about how best to address specific questions and concerns. Your children may also raise questions that you are not prepared to answer. If this happens, listen attentively and express that you will get back to them promptly with a complete answer to his or her question.
- Prepare to be patient.
Your children’s concerns and questions may not be addressed right away. After the conversation, allow your children some breathing room to consider what was discussed. Be patient and remain available to answer any further questions that may arise. It may also be a good idea to find time to have another conversation after the holidays to ensure that you are all on the same page.
We know that sharing the details of your estate plan with your children can be overwhelming at first. The holidays, however, are a good time to reflect on your planning goals and relay those goals to your children. If you have further questions about approaching this topic, or if you need our help and support, do not hesitate to contact our office.