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5 Tips for Discussing Your Estate Plan with Your Children During the Holidays

5 Tips for Discussing Your Estate Plan with Your Children During the Holidays  - Image

December 18th, 2017

The holidays are the time of year when most families make time to come together and celebrate. Although this is a busy season, it is important for you to carve out time to talk to your family about your estate planning. If it is possible, you want to discuss your goals when you are face-to-face with your children. We know this can be a difficult topic to discuss and want to share five tips with you to ensure it is the best conversation possible.

01. Plan ahead for the conversation.

Start by preparing your objectives and talking points beforehand. You know your children will have questions. Think about what these questions may be. You can plan your answers in advance and be ready to explain them. When you know exactly what you want to accomplish, you will not be easily sidetracked. You will want to be able to tell your children who your estate planning attorney is and may even want to bring copies of your documents to the meeting. Sharing your estate planning documents, although not for everyone, is another way to give your children a clear understanding of your wishes and leave little room for misinterpretation.

02. Understand everyone is different.

You know that both you and your children have different personalities and viewpoints on certain subjects. Each person in your estate planning meeting could react differently to the information you share. You know your children best. Thinking through their potentially emotional reactions will help you be better prepared to lead this meeting. Also, bear in mind, that your children may have estate planning of their own and this could influence their opinions on what your planning should be.

03. Answer questions as openly as possible.

Be prepared for your children to ask you why you made the decisions you did. We often see conflict arise for our clients when one child believes he or she is better suited for a role you have assigned to another. For example, you may have a child who lives in your town, but you have named the child who lives out-of-state as your health care decision maker. Be able to talk about your reasons. Everyone does not have to agree with your decisions. It is important, though, for the future of your children’s relationship, for you to share your reasoning.

04. Communicate your goals.

It can be easy to get angry, confused or sidetracked during tough conversations like this one. If this happens, take a step back. Be sure to remind your children why you created your planning. Let them know that is not only to protect you, but that it is a critical step in securing their future as well.

05. Remind them this conversation is not the last one.

Give your children time to process the information you have given them. Thinking about a time when you will no longer be with them or are incapacitated, is not easy. Let them know that you want to answer any questions they have as they reflect on what you have shared with them. You can go ahead and set a time to talk as a group, or leave it until a later time. Sharing this with your children allows them to collect their thoughts and for you to consider their wishes.

Do you need more ideas? Are you worried your estate plan may not be ready to share with your children? Do not hesitate to let us know. We would love to schedule a meeting to talk to you about this specific issue or any other questions you may have on your estate planning.

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Disclaimer Seamon Law Offices, PLLC is licensed in the state of West Virginia. Doreen Seamon, and Seamon Law Offices, by means of this web site, is not offering legal advice. With respect to the material contained in this web site, some of the material may be affected by current and future changes in law. For those reasons, the accuracy and completeness of such information, and the opinions of its author, are not guaranteed. In addition, because of the complexity and interrelationship of various areas of law which are presented in this web site, from which there may be certain exceptions or limitations, the strategies and plans outlined in this web site may not be suited for every individual, in every state. As such, it is strongly suggested that before employing any one or more of the techniques, strategies, expositions of any law, the reader should secure the services of a competent attorney in their respective state.