Benjamin Franklin is credited with saying, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Despite the certainty of death, many put off estate planning. Death and finances are two of the most uncomfortable subjects, they are both emotionally charged, and nobody wants to talk about either one of them. One of the hardest decisions people make in the estate planning process is how much (and when) to tell their children about their plan. It is no surprise that most people prefer to put off having those awkward family conversations and discussing their estate plans with their family.
Let’s face it. Estate Planning is not for you– it’s for those you left behind. Leaving a well-designed plan behind is the best gift you can give your family. Arrange your affairs to do the most good for your family, friends, and charities. Communicating the contents of your estate plan and final wishes to your family may be one of the most important parts of managing your estate before you die. When a loved one dies, family conflict and stress are too often a result, primarily because the deceased did not let their family know their wishes in advance.
While it can be difficult, there are also some very good reasons for having a detailed talk with your family about your estate plan. If you discuss your assets and your plan now, so that everyone knows what to expect, it can make things much easier after you pass away.
Below are three steps you can take to give your family peace of mind, avoid future family conflict and explain your end-of-life wishes to your loved ones.
1. Schedule A Family Meeting
By scheduling time to have an estate planning conversation, it gives everyone time to mentally prepare and gather any documents needed to map out a plan (Don’t forget, though, having these conversations is an act of love!). Make sure the key decision-makers are present, your spouse, adult children, parents, and other key family members who will be impacted.
2. Explain Your Final Wishes
Tell your family members your end-of-life decisions, where your will or trust is located, and who your estate planning attorney is. Explain to them why these decisions are important to you.
3. Go Over Your Estate Plan
If you choose, you can share the contents of your estate plan with your family in detail or very generally. Many parents who talk about their plan with their children are surprised to discover that their children sometimes have good ideas. Each family is different, however, discuss these details is the best way to avoid future family conflict when you die.
A trusted family attorney can also be very useful in helping you explain your final wishes to your family and provide information about your estate plan. If you need help telling your loved ones your final wishes, ask an experienced estate planning lawyer for guidance. Contact us talk to Dennis M. Sandoval, or one of our qualified attorneys at Sandoval Legacy Group at (951) 888-1460.