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estate planning

Estate planning is usually a sensitive subject to discuss.  But while having these conversations takes a lot of courage, they can help avoid surprises, lead to better planning and promote family harmony if done correctly. Here are some tips on how to start a conversation about estate planning:

Choose the Right Moment

Scheduling a conversation can work better than catching someone on short notice. Sometimes, it better to bring up the subject when going out for a walk or chatting over dinner.

Start With A Story

Often it’s easier to start with current events or an anecdote–a news report about someone who recently died or a story about a the sudden death of a friend who hadn’t planned and how much hardship that caused the family. A child could tell her mother: “I just did my own estate plan. Don’t you think you should update yours?”

Be Sensitive To Family Dynamics

Be sensitive to how your family dynamic works.  Sometimes it is best to have a series of talks, rather than covering everything all at once. If it’s better to have a group discussion, invite everyone over for a dinner and talk around the dinner table. If your family does better with individual discussions, prepare to talk independently with each member of your family.

Talk First With Your Spouse

Be sure to discuss your wishes and needs with your spouse before discussing with your children. You could emphasize your own mortality (“I’d like to talk about ways to provide for you and the family in case something happens to me”) or make it a subject of mutual concern (“We’re not getting any younger”). Either way, discuss it privately with your spouse first so that they feel included and part of your decision-making process.

Give Reasons For Decisions

When you’re not here, many will ask “Why was it done that way?” So, rather than causing conflict after your passing, offer reasons for your decision-making. Whether it is agreed upon or not, voice your reasoning to your family to avoid conflict later on.

Know your options before doing any decision-making. Seek the advice of someone who deals with retirement planning on a day-to-day basis to help you on your journey. Contact me for a free consultation. Toll Free 1-866-471-7233.

Source: forbes.com 6/13/2013