The holidays usually mean sharing hot cocoa, presents, home cooked meals, and togetherness. Why not also share with your family, how you intend to provide for them even after you are gone? The holidays are a perfect time to discuss your family’s estate plan or lack thereof.
An effective estate plan will not only positively impact your children but will leave a legacy for generations. However, finding the right time to bring up a potentially sensitive subject can be a challenge. Open discussion can alleviate tension, anxiety and avoid bickering over what family members can expect to inherit. Having an open dialogue with your family sooner rather than later can save your family lots of money and heartache down the road.
Next time you are gathered around the dinner table and passing the bread don’t forget to talk about how you plan on passing on your legacy. Here is a list of topics to help you get started:
- Tell your family that you are working on an estate plan. Your children will be grateful to know that their parents are thinking of their future.
- Let your family know how you will be allocating your property. This includes your home, other real estate, vehicles, bank accounts, life insurance policies, brokerage accounts, and even sentimental items such as jewelry and art. Letting your loved ones know what to expect after you are gone can prevent confusion and fighting in the future.
- Let you family know what documents you plan to or have already executed. The basics of an estate plan often include a Revocable (“Living”) Trust, Last Will and Testament, Durable Power of Attorney, and a Health Care Surrogate and Living Will. Always let your loved ones know where you plan to store the originals of these documents so they can access them in an emergency situation.
- Discuss health care issues and your wishes for how you would like to live out your final years. The best time to discuss end of life decisions with your family is now.
- Include minor children and grandchildren. It is important to discuss whether a guardian will be appointed in case of the death of both parents. Children often want a say in who will end up caring for them if both parents are gone. Planning for the worst does not mean the worst will happen, it just means things will be easier in case it does.
Taking the first step is usually the most difficult, but you would be surprised how an honest conversation about a difficult subject can bring everyone closer together. Contact OC Estate and Elder Law at (954) 251-0332 or firstname.lastname@example.org to learn about the essential estate planning documents every family should have.
Happy Holidays, from our Family to Yours!