As the holidays approach, there are several opportunities for you to talk to your family about your estate plan. You may be thinking about how uncomfortable this may be, but discussing how you plan to distribute your assets after your death is never exactly a comfortable experience no matter the setting.
Do not let the holiday season pass by without at least considering a discussion about your estate plan. This could be one of the few times you are all together. Here is how to approach this opportunity.
1. Set the proper tone
It is crucial to understand you should treat this conversation as a family meeting. You do not necessarily need to invite your financial planner or estate planning attorney to your Thanksgiving dinner, but it is no doubt a serious conversation. You should make sure someone is watching the kids and that you include any family members who are not present through a phone call.
2. Inform everyone beforehand
According to TheStreet, one of the biggest mistakes you could make regarding a holiday estate planning discussion is by surprising everyone with it. You should not simply bring it up suddenly during dinner. Make sure you give everyone a forewarning that this is going to take place, otherwise it is a recipe for awkwardness and arguments.
3. Remember it is an ongoing conversation
While you may be confident in the current version of your estate plan, things may change eventually. For this reason, you should not feel pressured to explain every last detail during a holiday meeting. You can even explain to your family members that you intend to keep them updated periodically via future family meetings or calls. This will help alleviate future tensions.
If your family has a tradition of keeping the holidays light and cheerful, you may ultimately decide to not have this discussion on a holiday. But you should certainly set up a family meeting to discuss your wishes before it is too late.