On behalf of Pakis, Giotes, Page & Burleson, P.C.
Why Should You Have a Family Discussion About Estate Planning?
Death is a topic that many people would rather avoid talking about. Many individuals do not discuss it with even those closest to them because it shifts the mood. When extended grown families have limited time each year to spend together, people are hesitant to even broach this subject. However, it is very important for you to schedule a family discussion about estate planning.
Forbes notes that this sensitive topic should be at the top of your to-do list for several reasons: first, you no doubt want family harmony to continue after you are gone. By informing your family members of your decisions now, you are giving them the opportunity to ask you any questions about why you have made decisions in a deliberate way. Future hurt feelings can be avoided if you explain why you may not have divided certain assets equally or why you have explicitly bequeathed items to specific people.
Second, you may want to talk to friends or family about who is willing to assume designated roles as part of your estate planning process. For example, you need to appoint an executor and a power of attorney. You might decide to choose one person for the financial power of attorney and give medical power of attorney to another. Having an open dialogue about your wishes makes things easier in the future.
Finally, it is significantly better to have these kinds of discussions while you are in good health and of sound mind. Be sure to cover such estate planning topics including your will and trusts, assets, life insurance and advanced directives. While these may be conversations you are dreading, you are going to be glad once they have taken place.