Talk to Your Family About Your Estate Plan

Having an estate plan is a must for all adults, but some might not discuss the contents of the plan with anyone. This can leave your loved ones confused and wondering what you were thinking when you created the plan. A better option is to have at least a brief discussion with them while you are still living so they can ask questions and clarify any points they aren’t sure about.

You don’t have to speak to everyone as a group. You can use individual conversations so you have the ability to customize the talk to each person. As a general guide, you should discuss this with everyone in the estate plan, as well as those who might think they are in it but actually aren’t.

Keep the conversation simple

You don’t have to give elaborate reasons why you set things up like you did. Instead, just let them know what your estate plan says and then briefly tell them why if there is something they need to know. Try to remain calm and positive about the conversation. Some people may not react in the best way if they find out that they aren’t included in the plan, but think about your reasoning for leaving them out.

Prepare to answer questions

This is the best time for your loved ones to ask you questions about your estate plan. These can be things as simple as where you keep your letter of instruction or as complicated as how you plan to have the heirs split specific things. They might even have ideas about a belonging that can cause tension among heirs. For example, they may think that you need to specify who gets the stained-glass butterfly everyone loves.

Talk about your final days

Your loved ones need to know your wishes for your final days. Discuss what types of medical care you are willing to have or that you don’t want. This is a good time to talk to the person you name as your powers of attorney for medical care so they know what they need to do when you can’t speak for yourself. Also, let them know any wishes you have for your final arrangements, such as what funeral home you want to use.

These conversations might not be that easy to have, but you will likely feel better once you have them. Your heirs will probably enjoy having an idea of what’s going to happen when you pass away.