Estate Planning 101: How to Have Difficult Conversations with Your Loved Ones

Talking to loved ones about estate planning is never easy, but it should be dealt with sooner rather than later to open the lines of communication. Here are some tips for approaching the subject in a way that is more comfortable for everyone involved.

Think about how you bring it up

Talking about life planning can stir up grief, anxiety, and other difficult emotions, so think about how and when you should approach the subject. Would your loved ones be more comfortable if you did it in person, or on the phone? Should you do it alone or have others present?

Inform yourself on the details of estate planning

Before having a conversation about estate planning, get informed. Educate yourself on what probate is, what happens when someone dies without having made a valid will, and what the different planning tools are. You might even consider having a plan for yourself put into place, to lead by example and make it easier for you to explain the process to your loved ones.

Invite other family members to participate in the discussion

If you intend to discuss life planning with your parents, make sure that your siblings have the opportunity to participate in the discussion. That will dissolve the notion that you are influencing your parents or trying to control the process.

Be sensitive

When you bring up the subject, be sensitive to your loved ones’ feelings. If they’re not ready to discuss it, accept their decision and approach the subject later, perhaps in a way that they find less upsetting or intimidating.

Take a different approach

Even if your parents aren’t ready to work on an estate plan, they might be open to cataloguing their finances, or getting their healthcare wishes on paper and naming the person who they want to implement those wishes should they be unable to do so.

The concept of estate planning is not always fun, but once you and your parents or loved ones start working on one together, you’ll find it surprisingly rewarding. Having an important part of their lives planned will ease a lot of anxiety about the future and make it easier to enjoy your time together now. If you’d like some help with this process, please get in touch with us today!

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