The approaching holiday season presents a prime opportunity for family gatherings, offering a unique chance to discuss important topics such as financial inheritance, end-of-life preferences, estate planning, and the collective management of family wealth now and in the future. Having all family members in one place provides the perfect setting for these conversations.
However, initiating discussions about asset management post-death or in case of incapacitation can be awkward during holiday festivities such as gift unwrapping or meal preparations.
To prevent your family from feeling unexpectedly confronted and to maximize the effectiveness of your discussions, adhere to these three key tips.
01 | Communicate Your Intentions Early
Discussing financial matters can be sensitive for many, stemming from upbringing where such topics were taboo, or a reluctance to stir family dynamics. Additionally, some view estate planning as a harbinger of bad luck, although, realistically, it’s an essential step in ensuring a harmonious and financially secure future for one’s family.
To ease into this conversation, avoid initiating this discussion out of the blue during family moments, such as watching football together. Preface the conversation well in advance, perhaps during regular calls with family members. Introduce the idea of estate planning by sharing your personal thoughts on managing your finances and caring for the family in unforeseen circumstances. This initial mention will sow the seeds for a more detailed discussion later.
As the family gathering nears, revisit the topic with more clarity and purpose. Inquire with the family gathering host about an appropriate time to dedicate about 90 minutes to a comprehensive discussion about family finances. Ensure this session is planned and communicated to all. If there is resistance, engage with curiosity, understanding their hesitations and exploring ways to address them, possibly by conversing with other family members beforehand.
Leverage your personal estate planning experience as a basis for initiating this dialogue. More details on this approach are provided below.
02 | Designate a Specific Time and Location for Discussion
Avoiding financial discussions during festive activities such as Christmas gift exchanges is advisable. Instead, schedule a dedicated time for this purpose, ensuring a distraction-free and uninterrupted environment.
Be transparent with your family about the objective of the meeting to avoid surprises and to encourage preparedness. Opt for a setting that is comfortable, serene, and private to foster an open and relaxed atmosphere.
Begin the conversation by explaining why discussing financial matters, although uncomfortable, is crucial to you. Emphasize that these discussions, while potentially uneasy, are key to strengthening family bonds, enhancing resilience, and ensuring financial security for all family members.
Set clear boundaries for the discussion with defined start and end times. The aim is to initiate dialogue, not to resolve every detail or financial figure. This meeting should be seen as the beginning of an ongoing conversation.
03 | Share Your Estate Planning Experience
If you have already undertaken your estate planning, encompassing asset inventory and future allocation, share your experience. Talk about the process, its simplicity, and the peace of mind you now have, knowing your assets and loved ones are secured according to your wishes.
If you have engaged with us as your trusted estate planner, describe how we assisted in crafting a plan tailored to your specific needs and desires.
Discuss any initial reservations you had about planning and how we addressed them. If your relatives are new to estate planning and have doubts, empathize with them, sharing your journey and the benefits you discovered.
If you have not yet initiated your plan, or if you have uncertainties about a plan formulated with another attorney, openly express your reasons for wanting to plan, such as preventing family disputes, ensuring care for a dependent or elderly family member, or establishing generational wealth and legacy. Highlight how planning benefits not just the immediate family, but the extended family unit as a whole.
Uniting Families Through Planning
Conversations about money and estate planning with loved ones can be challenging, but as your local estate planning experts, we are here to guide and support you through these critical discussions. When conducted appropriately, these conversations can bring clarity to your life and relationships, offering peace of mind that your assets are safeguarded and your loved ones are cared for, regardless of circumstances.
If you have already completed your estate plan with us, encourage your family members to explore our blog resources. If you haven’t started your estate planning, doing so before discussing with your family can demonstrate the tangible benefits and encourage their openness to the idea.
Give us a call for a complimentary consultation with us to learn more about estate planning.
Your Estate Planning journey begins with us by scheduling a Family Wealth Planning Session. During this two-hour meeting, you will meet with an attorney to explain how an Estate Plan can benefit you and the ones you leave behind. Schedule your Family Wealth Planning Session today by calling us at 208-733-7200 or by clicking the link here.
This article is provided as a service of Twin Falls Estate Planning, Personal Family Lawyers®. We do not just draft documents; we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death for yourself and the people you love. That’s why we offer a Family Wealth Planning Session™, during which you will get more financially organized than you’ve ever been before and make all the best choices for the people you love.