In addition to having the conversation early, it is also a good idea to have these discussions often. Things change over time, necessitating that you regularly review your plan and make changes as needed.
Although it may not be easy to approach the subject of estate planning with your loved ones, it is one of the most important conversations that you will ever have with the people that you care about the most. Effectively communicating your wishes will determine the type of legacy you leave behind to the people that matter the most to you. Here are a few tips to help you to talk to your loved ones about estate planning.
Choose the Right Time and Place
This topic of conversation must be approached delicately. When and where you choose to initiate these talks will have a profound impact on its success. For example, you do not want to delve into the details in a noisy restaurant. Nor do you want to begin these talks when your loved ones are feeling stressed about something else.
Instead, choose a comfortable environment to get into the details of your estate planning. You also need to approach this conversation when everyone is in a good headspace and feeling calm. This will increase the chances that the talk goes smoothly and avoids high emotions.
There is no doubt that this is a hard discussion to have. Nobody wants to think about death or what happens to your estate after you pass. However, it is vital that you dive into these conversations with directness.
This starts with being transparent with everyone in your circle, including your estate executors, trustees, and family members. The more open than you are about your wishes, the more likely that it will be that your desires will be met. Give your loved ones plenty of opportunities to ask questions and express their concerns. You will have greater peace of mind if you know that you have communicated your wishes.
Turn to the Professionals
If you are feeling uncertain about how to initiate these discussions, consider bringing in professionals to help to guide you through the process. An estate planning law firm in Los Angeles will be able to provide you with expert advice on how you can structure your estate to get the most out of your assets.
It is also helpful to have a professional ready to serve your family should they have questions and concerns. Estate planning is not something that you want to try on your own and hope for the best. Do not leave the distribution of your assets to chance.
Put Important Details in Writing
In addition to communicating your general wishes, you also need to put all of the important details in writing. For example, it is important that your loved ones know how to access all of your accounts when you pass. This includes more than just important bank accounts. It also encompasses the passwords that you need to access bills and other documents.
Personal identifying data is essential in the days and weeks after death. Do not make your loved ones have to jump through hoops to obtain access to the things that they need. Keeping account numbers and passwords in an accessible place will make it easier for them to check things off the list when the time comes. This will make what is already a stressful time less agonizing.
Communicate Early and Often
Do not wait until you are on your death bed to begin having these conversations. It is never too early to begin the process of estate planning. It will also likely be an easier conversation to have with loved ones if you are talking about the concept of death when it is years away versus right around the corner.
In addition to having the conversation early, it is also a good idea to have these discussions often. Things change over time, necessitating that you regularly review your plan and make changes as needed. Life changes such as marriage, divorce, and birth may change how you want to distribute your estate. Changes to your assets may also necessitate that you need to review and change your plan.
All of these tips will help to make a difficult process easier to wade through. You will sleep better at night knowing that your estate is in good hands.