How can you encourage your loved ones to create an estate plan?
Over the last few weeks, I met a great guy. Bob is 86 and lost his beloved wife earlier this year. His plan for everything to pass his wife, who had been the financial manager for the couple, was no longer an option and Bob needed help. We needed to make sure his plans for his assets was documented in a Will and create powers of attorney in the event he could no longer care for himself. Bob can enjoy his life knowing there is a plan in place.
Gathering for the Holidays is a great opportunity, not only to take steps to make sure your own estate plan is in place, but also to talk to your loved ones, especially elderly parents, about creating an estate plan. Estate planning is often a difficult topic to broach because it brings the unpleasant topics of aging and death to the forefront of our minds. Here are a few tips to help you start the conversation.
● Be sensitive to your loved ones’ feelings. Put yourself in their shoes and keep in mind that few people are eager to dwell on the subject of their own death. One way to begin the conversation is to talk first about the need to plan for an illness and to provide instructions in the event they become too ill to communicate with doctors or handle financial matters for themselves. The conversation can then progress naturally to the importance of having an estate plan that will transfer their money and property in the way that they wish, provide for the care of any dependents or pets, and minimize any taxes, court costs, and legal fees. Communicate that you are not trying to control their decisions but only want to ensure that their own wishes regarding their medical care and property are known—and that all of their instructions are in writing to guarantee that they are carried out.
● Involve others in the conversation. If you are planning to speak to your parents about the need for an estate plan, try to include any siblings in the discussion to avoid giving the impression that you are attempting to influence or control your parents’ choices. You and your siblings should emphasize to your parents that none of you isasking about what you will inherit, but rather just want to make sure that their wishes are carried out if they become ill or pass away.
● Consult an estate planning attorney. An experienced estate planning attorney can help you and your loved ones create an estate plan tailored to meet each of your unique needs and carry out your wishes, or they can assist with updating an existing estate plan. We can provide each person with guidance and information about the options available to them. Further, we can help each of you put a plan in place that will prevent unnecessary stress, legal expenses, and taxes, as well as uneven inheritances, disputes among loved ones, and delays in passing life savings on to them. In addition, the guidance we offer will give you and your loved ones the peace of mind that comes with knowing that plans are in place for your care if any of you become ill and that your wishes will be honored when you pass away. Call me today to set up a meeting.