Thinking of your own mortality is hard enough. Discussing it with your family and loved ones is harder.
However, there are very important reasons why you should do this while you are still in good mental and physical shape. Here are some suggestions from Forbes regarding how to talk about estate planning with your family.
Why Talk About It Now
In your mind, dividing up your assets may be a very straightforward process that does not warrant a discussion. However, there are reasons you must rethink this. Talking about your estate now allows you to:
- Express your wishes for medical care you may need
- Decide who takes what responsibilities
- Explain why you are making certain designations
- Anticipate hurt feelings and address them
Also, sometimes there are thoughts that other family members may have that you may not have considered. For example, suppose you have a vacation house that you want to leave equally to your two children. You might not realize that one child does not want anything to do with the property, while another cherishes it and plans use it nonstop. In that situation, you may want to consider giving the home to one child and giving an equivalent investment to the other.
What You Should Include
When discussing your estate planning, there is more to cover than what you are bequeathing in your will. Do not make assumptions about who is going to be the executor of your estate without making sure that your loved one is willing to take on the responsibility. You should think about whether that same person is going to be your medical or financial power of attorney, or is it better to have other people fill those roles. And, be sure to inform your loved ones about the various types of insurance you may have including medical, life and long-term care.
Finally, talk about how you plan to divide your estate. While you do not owe explanations to anyone, it is a good idea to do this now, since it prevents any ugly surprises later on. That may have the impact of straining relationships between your heirs. If you are designating gifts to organizations or charities, express why they are important to you. Being open with your loved ones keeps the air clear for everyone.