Discussing end-of-life plans and legacies is something that can make people uncomfortable. As a result, too many people pass away or become incapacitated without having talked about their wishes with their loved ones.
Rather than put off this discussion with the people you love, consider the following tips that can make this difficult – but essential – conversation easier.
Bringing up an estate planning conversation can be the hardest part for some people. You might not want to overwhelm or upset someone. You might worry that they’ll have questions you can’t or don’t want to answer.
You can overcome all of these concerns by starting small. Some ways to do this include:
- Speaking to just one person at a time
- Keeping the conversation brief and informal
- Giving them the broad strokes rather than getting into details
- Simply letting them know that you have an estate plan in the first place
- Focusing on one aspect, like what you want or don’t want for final arrangements
Keeping the discussion small and straightforward can set important groundwork you can build on later.
Concentrate on unique components
Issues that can be more likely to trigger conflicts during the estate administration process are those that are unique or unexpected. Thus, focusing on these areas can help your loved ones navigate the probate and administration processes.
You might want to prioritize explaining decisions such as:
- Leaving money to charity instead of family
- Appointing someone with a legal or medical background to decision-making roles rather than your closest family members
- Wanting specific elements at a funeral
- Distributing surprising types or amounts of assets
- Disinheriting someone
Decisions like these can be more likely to cause arguments, so sharing them and your reasons behind them can prevent such conflicts from ever arising.
Make it a discussion
When your loved ones understand your choices and wishes, they can be better equipped to make decisions on your behalf – and accept them.
As such, give others the time and space to ask you questions, get clarification and offer input, if appropriate. Keeping the discussion a two-way street allows all of you to be clear and confident about the future.
These tips can make it easier to have a difficult discussion so that you can preserve your legacy.