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Helping People Age with Dignity

Discussing your estate plan with family

One of the crucial facts that people need to accept about estate planning is that it is important to prepare your estate plan early in life. You want to have everything organized and ready when you are young so that if the unexpected happens, you and your estate are prepared.

Part of this preparation means that you will need to have a discussion with your loved ones about your estate plan. In fact, even if you have an estate and have had it for many years, it is a good idea to talk to your family members, loved ones and other beneficiaries to ensure that they are informed about your thought process and decisions regarding your estate plan.

Now, to be clear: we are not saying this is an easy conversation to have, nor are we saying that it won't get emotional. This is an important conversation about your life and your family's "nest egg," so there are bound to be some feelings that come out.

A helpful step to take is to set some ground rules before you have the discussion. Remind everyone that this is meant to be constructive and informative -- not a combative argument over your ideology towards estate plans.

When you have the actual conversation, remind everyone that this isn't a "one and done" conversation. There will be more in the future, and updates to your estate plan will necessitate these discussions. Also, take everyone's thoughts seriously and don't be dismissively of their emotions or ideas. If you disagree, simply explain in a calm manner why you are taking a certain approach to your estate plan.

No matter what you decide to do with your estate plan -- or how you deliver it to your family and loved ones -- make sure it is done under the helpful watch of an experienced estate plan attorney.

Source: aplaceformom.com, "Ways to Keep Emotions Out of Estate Planning," Kimberley Fowler, April 21, 2016

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