Nobody really likes to talk about the future when they’re talking about their own mortality. Odds are good that the people who love you won’t be so keen on having that conversation, either. Just the same, talking about your estate plans with your family is an important part of making sure that your wishes are kept, and your legacy is preserved without a lot of fighting.
How do you begin? Here are a few tips that could make the process easier:
- Get your plans in order, first. It’s much less stressful, and there’s less room for an argument if you already are clear about what you want. At the very minimum, you should have a clear idea about how you intend to divide up any inheritances and who you are putting in charge of your final affairs.
- Stress the importance of this conversation. You want to pick a calm time when there’s no other major focus happening to have your discussion. Try to involve everyone who needs to know the details of your estate plans at once, so that nobody feels left out.
- Make sure that your chosen executor and proxies accept the jobs. You will need to name someone to be in charge of your estate — and someone to be in charge of your medical decisions and finances during your last days (should you be unable to handle those tasks yourself).
- Explain what the inheritances will be. Don’t just talk about the big assets, like the insurance policies and the house. Make sure that you also address family heirlooms and keepsakes in your discussion.
Finally, make sure that you get all of your estate plans in writing. There’s no point in doing all of this if you don’t get your will, powers of attorney and other documents in order.